Having clinched Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro's final objective of the year, when he wrapped up second place in the Drivers' classification two weeks ago in Indianapolis, it was a relaxed Rubens Barrichello who faced the TV cameras after coming second...
Having clinched Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro's final objective of the year, when he wrapped up second place in the Drivers' classification two weeks ago in Indianapolis, it was a relaxed Rubens Barrichello who faced the TV cameras after coming second in the Japanese Grand Prix.
However, there was a slight hint of disappointment that he had been unable to put up more of a fight against his team-mate. "I had a good start, but the car bottomed out too much in the first few laps and I struggled a bit," explained the Brazilian. "I had to be careful and Michael opened up quite a big gap to begin with and it was difficult to cope with that in a way, but as we have had such a great season, and I have two wins from the last three races, it is just a great achievement for me."
Barrichello had planned to push harder later in the race. "I was putting the fight off to a little bit later, but Michael had a little bit quicker pace than me over the laps, and he pulled out the gap more and more so when the pit stops started it was difficult to be in that one or two second lead area. The gap was then five to six seconds, and then after the first pit stop, the tyres were doing alright but I had to come in a little bit earlier for the second stop, because the balance wasn't so great. There was no way I could have gone in first place today, although the car felt good all the way and was better than those of our competitors."
Bridgestone's contribution to Ferrari's success has been very important and Barrichello was keen to acknowledge that. "It has been a wonderful season for them," he commented. "They work very hard for us and we for them and it has paid off. It's a strong relationship and it is going to be even stronger next year so we are happy for them and they are happy too. To win like this for them is fantastic."