Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button both experienced contrasting fortunes during Saturday’s Brazilian Grand Prix qualifying – setting up a Grand Prix which could possibly blow this year’s world title race wide open.
While Barrichello rewarded his adoring home fans a majestic pole position, Button was eliminated in the second phase of qualifying after making the wrong tyre choice.
As the track dried Button continued on the extreme wet tyres, despite most of the runners switching the to the intermediates. He will line up a lowly fourteenth and will have much to do if he is to clinch the world championship on Sunday.
Barrichello now knows that he is in the perfect position to finally win his home Grand Prix and take the championship down to the wire in Abu Dhabi.
Rubens Barrichello – 1st: “I’m so happy to have qualified on pole for my home Grand Prix today particularly after such an unusual qualifying session. It’s the first time in seventeen years that I’ve got out of the car twice during qualifying! I’m very proud of what we achieved today. We were lucky to make it through Q2 when we should have gone for intermediates but it was a great drive in Q3. It’s a good situation to be starting from the front and have your own race pace rather than be in the pack. However the job is only half done and I’m keeping my feet firmly on the ground and just focusing on having a good race tomorrow. It’s great for all the fans at Interlagos who sat through all the rain delays and kept supporting me to have a Brazilian starting from the front tomorrow.”
Jenson Button – 14th: “It was a crazy qualifying session today and it’s obviously very disappointing to have only qualified in 14th position. The first session went well and our pace was reasonably good in the wet which was encouraging. The track had dried out a little for Q2 so we made some small set-up changes but the balance of the car just felt transformed. I had massive understeer for the first few laps and tried everything that I could to set a time but the pace just wasn’t there. By the third lap, the rear tyres started to go away, leaving me with no rear grip, and I just couldn’t improve my time. It’s going to make the race very tough tomorrow as I will be right in the middle of the pack but I’ll make the most of it and any opportunities to make progress.”
Ross Brawn: “It was a day of mixed fortunes with Rubens achieving a quite superb pole position at his home race and Jenson unfortunately not progressing from Q2. It was a chaotic and delayed qualifying with the heavy rain causing havoc and requiring the team and drivers to stay focused through the long delays. We were lucky in Q2 with Rubens who just scraped through but Jenson missed out. The lack of balance which Jenson experienced on his set of wet tyres was unexpected and proved costly as we believed it was possible to get through without using intermediates which proved with hindsight to be the wrong strategy. Jenson went for the lap right at the end but unfortunately the pace was just not there. Rubens did a fantastic job today to get the pole position. The car has been working well all weekend and the potential was evident from the result that he achieved in Q3.”