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Jenson Button

Backed by father (and former rallycross racer) John Button, Jenson charted a rapid rise through the ranks of karting, beginning with a flawless performance in the 1991 British Cadet Karting Championship in which he won all 34 races.

Further karting successes followed: he was British Open Karting Champion on three occasions and later became the youngest ever winner of the European Super A category. He also won the Ayrton Senna Memorial Cup in 1997.

The following year he made the step from karts to cars at the age of 18. He won the British Formula Ford championship with nine wins for Haywood racing and also triumphed in the prestigious Formula Ford Festival ahead of Dan Wheldon and Nicolas Kiesa. He also raced Formula Fords in Europe and finished second in the European championship.

After such a successful transition to racing cars he won the 1998 McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award.

At 19 he entered the British Formula Three championship with Promatecme and won three, finishing the year as the top rookie, third overall behind Marc Hynes and Luciano Burti. He finished fifth in the F3 Masters at Zandvoort, but fared better at the Macau Formula Three Grand Prix. He chased reigning Japanese Formula Three champion to the flag, finishing just 0.035s behind the winner.

As the racing season drew to a close Button had his first taste of F1 machinery in a McLaren as reward for his Autosport award win the previous season. He also tested for the Prost Grand Prix team.

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