F1 » 14 September 2009
Barrichello beats gearbox problem as well as rivals.
Rubens Barrichello has claimed that his desire to win overcame any concerns that he and the Brawn GP team might have had over the health of his gearbox heading into Sunday's Italian Grand Prix.
The Brazilian went to bed on Saturday night not knowing whether his hard work in qualifying - where he claimed fifth place despite carrying the heaviest fuel load of anyone in the top ten - was about to be undone by the need to change the gearbox, which had been slightly damaged at the Belgian Grand Prix. Had the unit needed replacing, Barrichello would have been demoted to tenth on the grid, behind a host of other drivers only planning to stop once during the 53-lap race.
"At Spa, I hit anti-stall [at the start] and it had a little bit of an overtorque, which might mean something for the long-term, but I think the will to win was bigger than the problem really," he admitted after heading home team-mate Jenson Button in a Brawn 1-2, "It felt good all the way through, and I think it is going to do the whole four races. I really hope so."
After ruining his chances of success in Belgium two weeks ago by struggling to get away from fourth on the grid, there were no such problems for Barrichello in Italy, as he gained one place at the expense of Heikki Kovalainen at the first corner and then produced the perfect, strategically-controlled, race to claim his second win of the season, and second in three races.
"I had a great first lap and that's what made my day - and my weekend," he confirmed, "Obviously, Kovalainen was coming quite fast with that [KERS] power button and I had to defend myself. I went wide, so it was a bit tough, but it was a great first lap and it made my race.
"My pace was there, and my brakes were too. It was pretty much like Valencia, the car was there all the time. It felt great. The guys with KERS had 20 metres on us at the start, and we had to have that in mind. There will be times when we don't have to think that, but the straight after the start here was so big that we had to. Luckily, we had a good start and I could run my pace, which was good enough to be in front of them by the last pit-stop."
Changes to the way in which his BGP001 uses its brakes have been the biggest contribution to Barrichello's improved form, allowing him to win both the European and Italian GPs and keeping him in contention for the world title, just 14 points behind team-mate Button. But the veteran is keen to underline the non-stop work that has gone on behind the scenes at the team to keep himself and Button at the front of the field.
"It is not as good as the six races that Jenson [won], but it is good enough, and I am really happy with all the achievement since the beginning of the year," he admitted, "I struggled a little bit at the beginning with the brakes but, since we have changed it at Silverstone, I am a lot happier. We have had developments on the car since then, and the car has become better and better. I need to put it down to the braking that my performance has become a little bit better.
"I am feeling good, and Monza is a great track for me. We knew before coming here that I had a good chance, and the work that we put in on Friday was fantastic to achieve this car. I think the team made a great effort on the set-up to find where the problem was in that couple of races, including Hungary, where we struggled. It was a great effort from the mechanical and aerodynamic side and the car is better.
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