Rubens Barrichello is confident that he is staying on the pace of Ferrari teammate Michael Schumacher and expects to better the German before too long. Ferrari has claimed a pair of one-two finishes in the first three races of 2004, with...
Rubens Barrichello is confident that he is staying on the pace of Ferrari teammate Michael Schumacher and expects to better the German before too long. Ferrari has claimed a pair of one-two finishes in the first three races of 2004, with Schumacher leading the scarlet duo over the line in Australia and Bahrain. Aside from an error in tyre choice at Sepang, Barrichello is happy with what he's achieved so far.
"The car, the team and the tyres are all doing fantastically well so far this season and I am so proud of the work the team has done," said the Brazilian. "I am also happy with my own efforts. Michael has been very strong for the first three races."
"The closest I got to him was in Australia, then in Malaysia I think the cool weather on race day played against my tyre choice, and now in Bahrain, I had a good race even though I had expected to do a bit better. So I feel I am there on the right pace. I don't think the whole season will go like this and as long as I keep working hard I am sure there will be a turning point for me."
There was a lot of discussion prior to the Bahrain Grand Prix about how much interference might be caused by sand blowing onto the circuit. Come race day, apart from poor conditions early in the morning, the sand proved to be a negligible aspect.
"Before we went, there had been a lot of talk about possible problems with sandstorms, with lack of grip on the track and sand making life tough for the engines," said Barrichello.
"But to be honest, apart from the fact the visibility was very poor on race morning, I think it turned out better than we expected. It's true that we all found the track surface very slippery off-line, but I really believe that had more to do with the asphalt being very new rather than the fault of the sand."
The Brazilian was hoping to challenge Schumacher at Bahrain but his first pit stop caused him to lose ground to the race leader. "At that first pit-stop, there was a misunderstanding, when the lollipop man gave me the sign to go, even though I was still on the jack, as it took longer than usual to change the right rear tyre," he explained. "So I was in first gear and applied the throttle but nothing happened. I didn't understand at first, because I didn't realise I was in the air."
Ferrari is currently testing at the Circuit de Catalunya, near Barcelona. Team test driver Luca Badoer kicked off the week's work and Barrichello and Schumacher will join the session tomorrow (April 8th).