A combination of luck, clever strategy and atrocious weather conditions saw the European Minardi Cosworth team contemplating the very real possibility of a podium finish in the treacherous Brazilian Grand Prix, but any hopes the Faenza squad may have had evaporated when Justin Wilson and Jos Verstappen were both caught out by standing water at turn three.

"Today saw possibly the first time ever that Minardi was potentially in a genuine, race-winning position," team boss Paul Stoddart insisted, "Many people may laugh, but only those of us within the team will ever know the truth. We had the strategy, but not the luck."

There was drama before the start in the Minardi garage, when Verstappen encountered a problem with his car on the formation lap and was rapidly switched to the spare chassis. This meant the he had to start from the pit-lane but, as the car was on wet suspension settings and carrying a full fuel load, a potential 'negative' was turned into a 'positive', as the race start behind the safety car meant that Verstappen was quickly able to catch up with the field.

With sufficient fuel on board to run non-stop in the race given a number of safety car interventions, the Dutchman had climbed to sixth place just before sliding off the slick track.

"The track conditions in today's race were very, very difficult and, of course, I'm extremely disappointed not to have finished today, especially when we don't have so many opportunities to score points," Verstappen lamented, "This was definitely a race where there was an excellent possibility. When Raikkonen passed me in Turn One, I was running behind him in the spray with virtually no vision. The car just spun very quickly two corners later. I feel extremely sorry for Paul and the whole team, but that's life and that's racing."

Wilson, by comparison, was on a one-stop strategy for fuel and tyres and, after yet another storming start, had battled his way up to an excellent twelfth place before his incident. He, too, looked to have been on his way to a points finish before being caught out by the unpredictable conditions as water poured across the track.

"I'm gutted," the British rookie said, "I was just caught out by the rivers running down the grass and across the track. They never seemed to be in the same place on two consecutive laps. On the lap I spun, I had got through the first river, but then aquaplaned off on the second one. It's a huge disappointment, because we were definitely on for a strong finish today."