The FIA-published post-qualifying fuel weights ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos this weekend suggest that pole-sitter Rubens Barrichello will need to scamper away at lights-out if he is to have any chance of finally triumphing on home turf and keeping alive the chase for the coveted crown – with the Brawn GP star's car emerging as the lightest in the field.
Having not demonstrated any great pace during either Q1 or Q2 – progressing through in fifth and tenth positions respectively – Barrichello sprang to prominence in the top ten shoot-out, and though the fans' favourite was one of the first drivers to take the chequered flag in Q3, his last lap time was good enough to clinch the top spot by barely a tenth of a second over Red Bull Racing rival Mark Webber.
Whilst victory for the oldest and most experienced driver in the field in São Paulo – allied to a failure to reach the podium for world championship-leading team-mate Jenson Button, who will start a lowly 14th – would take the title duel all the way down to the wire in the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in a fortnight's time, the 37-year-old's biggest problem could be the fact that Webber alongside him is carrying 5.5kg more fuel, whilst second row starters Adrian Sutil in the Force India and Toyota's Jarno Trulli will similarly be going rather further into the grand prix before pitting for the first time.
Elsewhere inside the top ten, fifth-placed Kimi Raikkonen is barely any heavier than Barrichello in the leading Ferrari, the Williams pairing of Nico Rosberg and particularly Kazuki Nakajima – as well as BMW-Sauber's Robert Kubica – have healthy fuel loads on-board, whilst for practically the first time all season, Sébastien Buemi and Scuderia Toro Rosso actually look to be in decent shape. Beginning from sixth, the young Swiss ace's car is the second-heaviest inside the top half of the grid – meaning his first points since Shanghai, and the Red Bull 'junior' outfit's first since Monaco, may finally just be on the cards...
The full list is as follows (their actual starting position is in brackets at the end):
Brawn GP-Mercedes 650.5kg
Red Bull Racing-Renault 656.0kg
Force India-Ferrari 656.5kg
Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari 659.0kg
Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari 671.5kg
Brawn GP-Mercedes 672.0kg
Force India-Ferrari 680.0kg
Red Bull Racing-Renault 683.5kg