Rubens Barrichello outqualified his Brawn GP team-mate Jenson Button for the first time this season in qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix.
The Brazilian is now aiming to redress the balance in the race at Shanghai tomorrow, after watching the Briton take the world championship lead with two straight victories in Australia and Malaysia.
When asked by AUTOSPORT, Barrichello said he believes he has a real shot at challenging for his first win since he last triumphed at the same circuit five years ago...Q. You said yesterday that you feel more comfortable with the car than you did in Malaysia?Rubens Barrichello:
Yes it does. The real problem that I had in Malaysia was the rears locking. You are not able to stop the car really well and by the time you get to the corner you have understeer. If I was in my first year honestly I would have said it was an understeer problem, but it is all due to the braking issues.
We got better here. We spent a week talking about it with the team in Europe and we sort of have a compromise here which is better. I'm still not fully happy with it, but it's better. I attacked all the qualifying sessions really well and for me honestly it was a big, big surprise. A good surprise in a way because it ends the bullshit conversation about diffusers.
Our car is good because it is good and Red Bull has done a fantastic job to put the car up there. But it was a surprise because Jock (Clear) said on the radio, 'You are in front of Jenson' and that I was P1. Then the radio cracked, and I asked 'Am I now P2?' He said, 'No, you're P4!' So that was a bit of a shock to see that.
But so far I've got to say Red Bull did a brilliant job. I would say the Renault is a little bit short on fuel, but it is still a very good lap from Alonso and we are down in fourth, which is a surprise, but nevertheless we are still in with a chance of winning the race.Q. But the race pace of the Brawn is always good as well isn't it, and the car seems good at looking after its tyres.RB:
My tyres have been quite good and so are Jenson's. I am fairly confident. We need to see what the start brings because I am on the dirty side. Although here it is a bit of an up and down situation because you could go down the middle and the middle of the two spaces aren't that clean. So yeah, it's going to be a good afternoon.Q. How important was it to outqualify Jenson as well?RB:
You have got to say that in your mind is set to become world champion and your team-mate is leading the world championship at this moment - then you've got to beat him. So in that it is a fair and square thing to be happy with.
But we are working very well as a group and at the end of the day I think I work well with Jenson but we try to beat each other. It has been like that for the past three seasons. It wasn't going to be like people were saying, 'He was keeping up in front'. I think it was a fairly normal situation, he got away with good qualifiers in the first two races, I had it a little bit better in this one. I've got to keep improving my brakes to stay on top.Q. Were you happy with your one-lap pace in comparison to the last two races?RB:
I didn't get a very nice lap altogether. I had traffic and I had a little bit of a problem with warming up the tyres. So because you only had one lap, I think on one lap they [Red Bull] were faster than us. I was very happy with my fuel-onboard lap - that was a nice lap.
In Q2 I could have been faster yes, it wouldn't have changed anything, but yes I could have gone faster.