Rubens Barrichello: the driver debates

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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10 comments on Rubens Barrichello: the driver debates

  1. Spodo said on 9th May 2008, 14:13

    His overtake-everyone-twice win at Silverstone in 2003 is one of the finest I’ve ever seen, particularly given the fact that Schumacher’s performance in the sister car did not suggest that the Ferrari had a huge advantage that day. Alonso, Raikkonen, and Hamilton have had impressive wins, but none of theirs (so far) compare to Rubens’ finest. It’s a shame that Rubens either wasn’t able/allowed (take your pick) to be more consistent than he was.

  2. Daniel said on 9th May 2008, 19:41

    Barrichello suffered a lot here in Brazil, as I’ve commented a couple of times…

    If I am to make an impartial evaluation, I have to say he is the best second driver ever seen in Formula 1 and, coincidence or not, he partened the best first driver ever during his most successful years, and that’s why the share the title of most one-twos in Formula 1 History…

    I think that never before a driver as fast and as good in car development as Barrichello accepted a clear number two role as he did, and I think he did so because he felt his career was already too long (seven seasons) in midfield teams, that he desperataly needed a top drive, not matter how costly it would come…

  3. Tiago said on 9th May 2008, 20:35

    I always saw Rubens as a very competent pilot, he always did his job well.
    The problem is that to win races and championships you have to be better than competent, you have to be exceptional, fantastic, like Fangio, Jim Clark, Niki Lauda, Piquet, Prost, Senna and Schumacher.

  4. GMAC said on 10th May 2008, 9:04

    Agreed Spodo, silverstone 2003 was his most impressive performance, a delight especially as he’s a popular driver anyway. That day he stood head & shoulders above the rest.
    I always sympathised with him for being the great Brazilian hope after Ayrton, impossible.

  5. Yasser said on 10th May 2008, 11:33

    His 61 podium finishes are a testimony of his driving prowess, but like all Brazilian drivers, he lets his heart rule his head when circumstances are tense.

  6. I wouldnt mind being Number 2 to Michael…what an honour…. he could have been the top driver in another team, at that time…friendly person, with a big heart!

  7. Flavio said on 11th June 2008, 17:00

    I personally think that if given a McLaren or a Ferrari, Barrichello would currently win the 2008 season, or be at 2nd for that matter.

    His achievements on Karting are impressive… look on the web. Five times #1 winner of a 500 mile karting race!! Five times brazilian karting champion, etc.

  8. Flavio said on 11th June 2008, 17:17

    I agree with KB, being second place to Schumacher several times is not a bad thing, because we are talking about Schumacher!!

    I think the Barrichello-Button pair have still a lot to give. And, if you consider his career as a whole, i think Barrichello is one of the greatest drivers to exist. On brazil he was considered practically unbeatable on Karting, having been brazilian karting champion 5 times and having won the 500 miles of Granha Vianha (500 miles of non-stop kart driving!) 5 times, several of them consecutives…

    Right now he finished 6th and 7th on his last races, respectively, and he was race leader for 7 laps on Canada; but his Honda was visibly slower at straights! Come on Honda, do it better!!

  9. Mahesh Iyer said on 15th June 2008, 16:48

    Rubens Barrichello! I don’t know how many times i must have watched Hockehheim-2000. One of the best races of this decade for sure. Those endearing images of him crying his heart out on the podium. Indeed he is my fav driver. I agree with what most people say here.

    I am not sure if Rubens can even be on the podium again let alone win a championship or an f1 title for that matter. But i am immensely glad that atleast this one well and trully belongs to him, and i sincerely hope that it stands for some time. I know it means a lot to him…

    I think Ricardo Patresse summed it up perfectly up and to quote him “To be in F1 for so long means everyone you worked with appreciated your input and company”

    Go Rubens Go…

  10. Off-topic, but with the 2008 French Grand Prix now behind him, Barrichello has started in 257 GPs beyond any doubt.

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