Such was the roar from the grandstands, the whole of Sao Paulo must have been aware of the moment when Rubens Barrichello re-assumed the lead of the Brazilian Grand Prix - just as it would have heard the collective groan when his infamous bad luck struck just over a lap later...

The Brazilian started his home race from pole position for the first time but, having led the field around behind the pace car for eight laps, was overly cautious on the 'restart', allowing David Coulthard to move ahead on the run to the first corner. From there until just over mid-way, the Ferrari driver had to contend with a low downforce set-up that prevented him from exploiting all of the F2002's power, and left him fending off rivals left, right and centre.

Only when the majority of the track had begun to dry out after a pre-race downpour did Barrichello come into his own, hunting down those around him until it was just a straight battle between Brazilian and Scot for the lead. With Coulthard struggling on old tyres, Barrichello was quick to pounce on the slightest mistake, sending the massed ranks of paulistas into rapture as he eased ahead of the McLaren and immediately began pulling away.

Cheers turned to disbelief less than two laps later, however, as the all to familiar sight of red Italian machinery pulling silently off the track returned to Interlagos. For a while, the Ferrari team remained unsure of what happened to Barrichello's car, save to say that it shut itself down, before diagnosing a fuel starvation problem.

"I am very disappointed - all I can say is that I did my very best," the luckless Brazilian sighed after he had made the long trip back to the pits.

"The beginning of the race, when the track was at its wettest, was difficult, as the car had a relatively low downforce set-up. I concentrated on staying calm, waiting for the right moment to attack. Once in the lead, I immediately pulled out a gap, but then I was forced to stop with a fuel feed problem. It was very frustrating as I was sure I could win. I am very disappointed not to have taken victory here in front of my fans."