By Jonathan Noble
Jenson Button's father John says his world championship success has left him with a totally surreal feeling following a winter when they did not even know if they would be in Formula 1 this year.
Button clinched his maiden title at the Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday to mark what he believed was a fairytale success for Brawn - whose future in the sport was in doubt when parent company Honda pulled out of the sport last December.
And his father John said he was struggling to fully comprehend the events of the weekend – as Button clinched the title with one race of the season to go.
"It doesn't seem real at the moment," he told AUTOSPORT. "It was very emotional obviously in the last few laps when I realised it was going to happen, but now it has all gone. It is really weird. It is really strange.
"I don't know what is around the corner, what happens when we walk through that door now? I don't know what is on the other side now that he is world champion. It is going to be really weird because he is just my boy, end of story."
Button admitted that the trials of the winter following Honda's decision to quit F1 had been harder for him to deal with than Jenson.
"Well the winter was terrible," he said. "In front of Jenson I was really positive, but away from him I feared it would all be over now. But he was still young, and I thought: what am I going to do with him? All he knows is racing.
"But he had the faith all the way through. I just could not get it, but he was right. It worked out – and he jumped in a little devil in Barcelona for the first test. He got out of the car after six laps and went: 'wow Dad'. And here we are. It is not right is it? This is not what happens in F1."
John Button, who has helped guide his son's career from karting all the way through to F1, says he has never seen him happier than post-race in Brazil.
"I've never known him like it," he said. "I saw him in parc ferme before he came out, I gave him a squeeze and he locked onto me like a limpet. I could not get him off. It was unbelievable. He was screaming and crying: 'I am world champion'. That is all it was. No other words at all."
And John believes that Jenson will be far more relaxed when he hits the track in Abu Dhabi having sealed the title already.
"Yeah, that will be a great race. I spoke to Niki Lauda after the race. He said people do not know how hard it is to win the first world championship, and they change – because they have done it and they have proved that they can do it. It will make a difference.
"Jenson is a world champion forever, not just for one year, and he will be in the history books, which is what I wanted."