Rubens Barrichello has described Brawn GP's incredible one-two finish in the 2009 curtain-raising Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne this weekend as 'the start of a very exciting journey' – as the Brazilian hinted he had no thoughts about hanging up his Formula 1 helmet yet awhile.
Barrichello began his 17th successive campaign in the top flight in fine fashion Down Under, taking full advantage of Brawn GP's spectacular competitiveness to qualify second on the grid alongside team-mate Jenson Button and – after a rather less straightforward Sunday afternoon, suffering a tardy getaway before making contact with Mark Webber into the first corner and subsequently Kimi Raikkonen which left him with a damaged front wing and nose cone – profiting from the late collision between Sebastian Vettel and Robert Kubica to snatch the runner-up spot to the sister car in the race too.
A somewhat scrappy performance it may have been, but nobody could deny the 36-year-old's enduring spirit and thirst for success, and a fastest lap time more than a second slower than that of Button could be attributed to the fact that his diffuser – which some have suggested is contributing in no small part to Brawn GP's extraordinary pace – had broken in contact during the race and had therefore afforded him no benefit.
“Well, you could say that I had an eventful afternoon!” the nine-time grand prix-winner quipped afterwards. “I had a lot of mixed emotions during the race, and honestly I am so delighted to have achieved second.
“It was really tough for me at the start as the anti-stall kicked in which cost me a few places off the line, and then I was hit heavily from behind going into the first corner and thought my race was over. Thankfully the car survived and I was able to battle my way up to fourth and be in a position to take advantage of the accident between Vettel and Kubica.
“It just goes to show that you should never give up! Congratulations to Jenson for a fantastic win today, and my heartfelt thanks to the team for providing us with such a good car. This is the start of a very exciting journey for us.”