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Button wins top British award
Alan Baldwin | December 06, 2004 10:51 IST
Readers of Britain's Autosport magazine again snubbed Ferrari's Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher by naming Jenson Button as their international racing driver of the year.
Schumacher won 13 of the 18 Grands Prix this year and clinched his seventh title while Briton Button finished third overall for BAR.
The 24-year-old has yet to win a Grand Prix but took four second places this year to help his Honda-powered team finish runners-up in the constructors' championship behind the dominant Italian team.
"It's a bit of a strange situation," said Button after accepting his trophy from double world champion Mika Hakkinen, the last man to win the Formula One title before Schumacher racked up five in a row.
"I feel a little bit embarrassed holding this up because Michael won so many races and destroyed us in the championship," added Button at the Autosport Awards ceremony on Sunday night.
Schumacher lost out to Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya, who moves from Williams to McLaren next year, in the 2003 award for the same category despite becoming the first driver to win six Formula One titles.
The German did not attend the gala evening.
There was some consolation for Ferrari, whose F2004 was voted racing car of the year, an award accepted by chief designer Rory Byrne.
"It's far too early to say how it (next season) is going to pan out," Byrne said when asked about the future. "We could be in for some surprises."
American AJ Allmendinger, who races in the US Champ Car series, was named as rookie of the year while French world champion Sebastien Loeb was international rally driver of the year. His Citroen Xsara won the rally car award.
Scotland's Paul di Resta, 18-year-old cousin of Indy Racing League driver Dario Franchitti, won a 50,000 pounds ($96,920) cheque and a test drive with the McLaren Formula One team as winner of the prestigious McLaren Autosport BRDC award.
Previous winners include Button, David Coulthard, Franchitti and BAR test driver Anthony Davidson.
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