Rubens Barrichello: the driver debates

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Rubens Barrichello, Riccardo Patrese, 2008, 470150

Rubens Barrichello (left) will set a new mark for the most Grand Prix starts this weekend, beating the 256-race record of Riccardo Patrese (right) which has stood for 15 years.

How do you rate the Brazilian’s career?

In 1993 he was the rookie who dazzled in the drizzle at Donington Park. He spent the years immediately following that struggling to meet the expectations of his countrymen following the death of his friend and hero Ayrton Senna.

His impressive drives for the fledgling Stewart outfit reminded the top team bosses of his talent and he was vindicated when he scored his maiden win in his first season at Ferrari.

Tougher times followed. On several occasions he was vilified for deferring to Michael Schumacher, throwing a race win away at Austria in 2002. Only recently Barrichello has revealed the extent of his subordinate role at the team, and how he fixed his mind on leaving after being told not to race Schumacher fir victory at Indianapolis in 2005 – even though Schumacher had no realistic hope of winning the title that year.

Since arriving at Honda he has been largely in Jenson Button’s shadow. But any man who can forge a 16-year career at the peak of motor sport – and still wants to continue on to 300 starts – deserves respect. And on his greatest days even Schumacher himself found Barrichello a hard man to beat (see video of some of his career highlights here).

How do you rate Rubens Barrichello?

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