Rubens Barrichello admitted that opting for a harder tyre compound for the Malaysian Grand Prix was a gamble that didn't work out very well. The Brazilian was expecting very high temperatures on race day but it turned out some ten degrees cooler...
Rubens Barrichello admitted that opting for a harder tyre compound for the Malaysian Grand Prix was a gamble that didn't work out very well. The Brazilian was expecting very high temperatures on race day but it turned out some ten degrees cooler than the previous days had been. Ferrari teammate Michael Schumacher went for a softer compound and won the race but Barrichello struggled.
"When I made the decision on Friday, it looked like it was going to be one of the hottest ever races in Malaysia, which is why I went for the harder tyre," he explained. "So that is what compromised my race and I knew it would be difficult the moment Sunday afternoon saw the track temperature drop much lower than the previous days. It was a gamble that didn't pay off."
"At the start this gave me some problems. Michael was really quick and I just tried to follow his pace. Then at Turn 4, it was really slippery and the tyres were not working so well at that point. It was in those two or three laps that I lost the most time and any chance of winning."
Williams' Juan Pablo Montoya was not too happy with Barrichello during the race, claiming that the Ferrari had deliberately held him up when he was trying to overtake. Barrichello believes the Colombian was not in a position to pass him anyway, and said he was held up by traffic.
"I don't feel Juan Pablo ever really had a chance to overtake me," Barrichello insisted. "I could see him behind me, but not in a way that he could have got by. I think what might have given him that impression was the time I was stuck trying to lap a Minardi. At first, he would not let me by and then he got really sideways in front of me at Turn 5, costing me around three seconds on one lap and I guess that's why Juan Pablo got upset."
"It was annoying for me also, as it lost me any chance of moving ahead of anyone in those few laps when I could have been pushing hard. So I was a bit upset by Juan Pablo comments, because there is no way I would have wanted to lose three seconds in one lap. It was only the second race of the year and I wanted to win it for myself and the team, so with two laps to go until I was due to pit, why would I hold him up to make him lose time? I certainly didn't change my strategy just to hold him up."
Although he finished fourth in the race, Barrichello thinks the F2004 is good and the tyres were a big contribution to Schumacher's victory. "On the positive side, this race really showed the potential of the F2004 and if I had not suffered that problem in the early stages, I am sure we could have finished one-two again," he said.
"But Michael had a better tyre choice and the work Ferrari has done together with Bridgestone is fantastic and I would agree with Ross Brawn (Ferrari technical director) who said the Malaysian win was down to the tyres."