He may only have scored two points to narrowly close the gap on team-mate Jenson Button in the F1 title chase, but Brawn GP star Rubens Barrichello chose to look at the positives following a frustrating weekend in Japan.

The veteran Brazilian came up against a few too many obstacles at Suzuka - finding himself demoted one spot on the starting grid for failing to slow down for yellow flags when Scuderia Toro Rosso's S?bastien Buemi crashed during qualifying, and subsequently facing the untimely introduction of the safety car on race day - yet he still managed to reduce the deficit to Button at the top of the drivers' standings to 14 points with 20 remaining to play for.

The grid penalty was a blow for Barrichello, but not as much as it was for championship rival Button who for the same misdemeanour found himself pushed down from seventh to tenth. After the race the oldest and most experienced driver in the field admitted that his strategy hadn't been perfect, but said he believed he could not have done much better than the seventh place he eventually took.

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"Qualifying proved crucial for my weekend," he mused, "as it put me ahead of Jenson for the race and I was able to make up a point on him. I struggled with the set-up [in the race] and wasn't able to get the best from the car, which is a shame.

"I was able to follow Kimi [Raikkonen] when we were both running on 'primes' in the first stint, but once he switched to 'options' he gained a lot of time on me. We would have finished in sixth place without the safety car, and that's the best I could have hoped for."

Indeed, having held onto sixth for most of the race, the late-race safety car allowed Williams' Nico Rosberg to leapfrog Barrichello - but with the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos next up in twelve days' time, the S?o Paulista is hopeful of a boost from his partisan supporters and a strong performance on home turf.

"It's frustrating," he reflected of the loss of sixth position at Suzuka, "but that's the way racing goes and the most important thing is that I gained a point on Jenson. The Brazilian Grand Prix is always a very special occasion for me, and I'll be giving it my all there to do as well as possible for the championship."