Spain strategy paid off for Barrichello

Rubens Barrichello decided to qualify with a heavy fuel load at the Spanish Grand Prix and used a two-stop race strategy, which saw him finish second to Ferrari teammate Michael Schumacher. Most other teams had opted for a three-stop strategy but Barrichello's longer race stints saw him use the two pit stops to move up from fifth on the grid to the second step of the podium.

Rubens Barrichello.
Photo by Brousseau Photo.

"I think after qualifying, people might have guessed I had a heavier fuel load than Michael, but not to the extent of only making two pit stops, given that I still qualified fifth," said the Brazilian. "It was a good lap, even though the car was heavier than I had ever run it in testing at that track."

"It was a late decision because the team felt it was difficult to put two cars on an optimum strategy, especially as there was more than one other team going very quickly. If you did not get pole and get away ahead of the field, you could be in trouble, just like I was in Imola, when I got stuck in traffic behind slower cars."

"All weekend I was a couple of tenths behind Michael and although I thought I might have had a chance to take pole, I decided to go for something different and the team gave me that option. From the tyre point of view, it was straightforward as I made the same choice as Michael."

In his last pit stop, there was a delay while the Ferrari mechanics tried to locate the correct tyres but Barrichello doesn't think it cost him a chance to win the race. "As for the pit stop problem, all I can say is that I would have finished closer to Michael, but I would not have won," he remarked.

Ferrari is forging ahead in the constructors' championship, forty points clear of second placed Renault, but Barrichello is not relaxing just yet. "We should remember that last year, Williams did not really get on the pace until they won in Monaco, so we should definitely not discount them," he commented. "And now it is clear that, in terms of pure speed, BAR are the closest to us, with Williams and Renault not too far behind."