Jenson Button and the former Brawn GP team personnel have joined sports stars Usain Bolt, Serena Williams and Kim Clijsters in winning the 2010 Laureus World Sport Award categories in which they were nominated.
Button came top in the Breakthrough of the Year award for his achievement in winning the Formula One World Championship in the first year of his team’s existence, and after 10 years in the sport without significant personal success.
He beat fellow British nominees Mark Cavendish, a cycling gold medallist and renowned road cyclist, and Tom Daley, a teenage Olympic diver, in the process.
Brawn GP, nominated for the Team of the Year award, beat off competition from big-name sports clubs including FC Barcelona, the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Lakers.
No Formula One driver has won the Laureus Sportsman of the Year award since Michael Schumacher was victorious in 2004 – although several have been nominated since in an era dominated by the outstanding tennis player Roger Federer.
Button is the first to secure the Breakthrough award since Lewis Hamilton won it in 2008. Fellow McLaren driver Jean-Pablo Montoya has also won and Button himself was a candidate once before in 2001.
The awards ceremony was held in Abu Dhabi and featured Hollywood stars Kevin Spacey and Gwyneth Paltrow.
Collecting his award, Button said: “I think someone forgot to tell Laureus that I’m actually 30 years old.
“It’s a very special feeling to be stood here. Before I started last season I didn’t know I would be racing in Formula One so to clinch the title with Brawn in our first season was very emotional for me.
“This is perfect for wrapping up my 2009 season. Tomorrow I start the 2010 season and hopefully I can come back here next year and be close to winning one of these awards again.”
• Ross Brawn, former team principal of Brawn GP and now the boss at its successor Mercedes GP, has visited Buckingham Palace to collect his recently-awarded OBE. According to a team statement Brawn attended the ceremony with wife Jean and daughters Helen Young and Amy Smith.