Local hero Barrichello takes pole to keep title hopes alive

Home favourite Rubens Barrichello clocked the fastest time of a chaotic qualifying session to seize pole position for Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix. His team-mate and rival for the title Jenson Button lags back in 14th place on the grid.


AFP - Rubens Barrichello produced one of his greatest performances Saturday when he seized pole position for the Brazilian Grand Prix in extraordinary conditions.

The 37-year-old local hero, who has been in Formula One for 17 years, but never won his home race at Interlagos, claimed his first pole for five years and the 14th of his career.

After an emotional reception from the fans who had endured a day of torrential rain, thunderstorms and utter frustration, Barrichello paid tribute to his fellow-Paulistas.

"It is just so special for me, this day," he said. "It was a great drive and it may be that we have less fuel than them, but it's better to start at the front and have my own race pace than towards the middle of the pack.

While Barrichello starts from pole, his Brawn GP teammate, and championship leader Jenson Button will be 14th and German challenger Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull 16th.

Button leads the title race with 85 points ahead of Barrichello on 71 and Vettel on 69 with two races remaining.

Barrichello added: "It's great to see that all the people stayed to see it because they went through a heavy period of rain -- I was expecting them to leave, but happy they stayed to see it."

Later, he added, in reference to the three hours it took to finish the widely-disrupted one-hour qualifying session because of the weather, that it had been unique for him.

"After so many years, after 17 in F1, I never got out of the car for a pee twice in the middle of qualifying," he said.

"I am very proud of what we achieved today. We were on the borderline for Q2, we should have gone for 'intermediates' but we were lucky enough to just make it.

"I knew the car was competitive, but I am keeping my feet on the ground because we have won nothing yet."

The veteran then added that he will not worry at all about the title situation until after the race.

"I will race as hard as I can to win the race, then when the race is finished I will open the radio and see where Jenson and Sebastian finish."

Barrichello will be seeking his 12th victory in his 283rd race in a long career with Jordan, Stewart, Ferrari and Honda, before the creation of Brawn.


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