Williams' Rubens Barrichello is full of optimism after qualifying twelfth in Brazil ahead of the final race of the F1 2011 season.

Amid rumours of this being his final Grand Prix, the veteran Brazilian delivered a fine qualifying effort around the Interlagos track near where he grew up. Twelfth place and a top half grid position far exceeds the team's results of late, with Barrichello attributing much of his success to the fervent support he receives from his home crowd.

"I'm so glad that I put in a good lap because I have lots of family here this weekend. Also for the team and for the fans, it really felt like they were pushing me on which was an amazing feeling," he said.

Despite this fantastic effort though, Barrichello is under no illusions of the task that faces him if he is to end the season on a high.

"I have to drive 71 laps like that tomorrow but we have the best chance now so let's hope for a good one!" he added.

Meanwhile Barrichello's team-mate Pastor Maldonado struggled, failing to get out of Q1, although at least tomorrow he will start ahead of the traditional backmarkers, unlike at the last round in Abu Dhabi.

"We're a bit on the back foot with P18. We didn't find the best balance on the option tyre and so didn't get a clean lap in. I will need to make up lots of ground in the race but after doing that in Abu Dhabi, I'm optimistic I can do it again here," he remarked.

by Philip Barclay