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APRIL 19, 2001

Button awarded Bandini Trophy

STRUGGLING Jenson Button has been given something to smile about after being given an award for being Formula One's best newcomer last season.

The Briton's performance with Williams in 2000 showed he has the skills to become a future world champion, and he was awarded the Lorenzo Bandini Trophy for his efforts.

The award was presented by a foundation set up by the sister of former Ferrari driver Lorenzo Bandini, who died at Monaco in 1967.

But as well as a celebration of his achievements, it also served as a reminder of Button's dramatic fall from glory.

Things have gone downhill this year, and Button is now battling at the other end of the grid following an enforced two-year loan period with the Benetton squad to make way for Juan Pablo Montoya at Williams.

Button started from the last row of the grid in San Marino, but his former team boss Frank Williams believes the champion rookie still has the talent to shine through.

"There are some drivers that come in and have so much talent you know they will go all the way," said Williams. "Jenson did it last year, and that talent doesn't disappear. He'll be back."