Strategy didn’t pay off for Barrichello’s potential swansong
28 November 2011
Williams' Rubens Barrichello finished 14th - a position in which the Brazilian has unfortunately become accustomed to this season - in what could have been F1's most popular of nice guys' final GP in front of his home faithful.
Compounding a difficult season in which the veteran of 19 F1 campaigns could only amass a mere five points, Barrichello also finds himself competing with the element of time as a number of younger - and wealthier - drivers look set to steal his Williams seat.
Barrichello's situation signifies the ugly truth which surrounds the globalised machine of F1 where, these days, experience and proven results don't count for everything.
Despite this, 'Rubinho' remains as positive as ever, admitting on a countless number of occasions that his love for the sport has never dwindled.
Sadly, he was denied a dramtic swansong as a gamble dictated by the threat of changeable weather during the race didn't pay off for the Williams ace. After qualifying a respectable twelfth, which was no mean achievement in his Cosworth-powered Williams, Barrichello dropped back to 19th after a difficult start. The Brazilian, however, maintained it was a fun race as he made his way back up to finish 14th.
"We thought it was going to rain today so we were running a long first gear," he revealed, "I started at the bottom of the hill and, as it was a dry start, I slipped back.
"After that, it was a fun race but we don't have a car that can finish in the points just yet.
"I want to thank the team for all their hard work this year. We have had a tough season but we've pushed together. There's been a lot of talk over the weekend, but I believe I will be back again next season."
It was also a difficult weekend for team-mate Pastor Maldonado after the Venezuelan failed to make his way through Saturday's first segment of qualifying.
Languishing in 18th on the grid, his race didn't get much better either, as the rookie lost the rear of his Williams on the exit of turns 6/7, subsequently ending his race, and season, prematurely in the tyre barriers.
"I had a good start until I lost position fighting for space on track," he said, "Our overall pace during the race was fine, but the rear wing setting slightly held us back on the long straight. My retirement came after I passed Senna on lap 26. The car had too much oversteer and I just lost control of it."
Since his arrival earlier this season, Williams chief operations engineer Mark Gillan has had his work cut out thanks to the inherent lack of speed the FW33 offers. Although that was much the same case during the weekend's proceedings, Gillan nevertheless commended his team's efforts in what has been a difficult season.
"Rubens had a difficult start which cost him a number of positions, and we then changed his planned two-stop strategy to a three as we were experiencing higher tyre wear than expected," he reported, "Rubens continued to push hard to finish in P14, having held Schumacher off for the last few laps of the race.
"Both Rubens and Pastor fought hard today but, ultimately, did not have the pace to finish in the points. However, I'd like to thank the team for all their efforts this season."
by Simon Evans