Tuesday May 1st, 2001
Brazilian Rubens Barrichello believes he could have won the Spanish Grand Prix last Sunday, had he not been affected by mechanical problems with fifteen laps of the race remaining.
The Ferrari driver retired with a suspension failure while he was running a distant third behind McLaren's Mika Hakkinen and teammate Michael Schumacher. However, Schumacher was forced to slow down due to a problem with his car, while Hakkinen retired from the race with only five corners left.
Without the problems he suffered, Barrichello believes he could have won his second race for Ferrari following last year's victory at the German Grand Prix.
"I could easily control my position and given that Hakkinen retired and Michael had some problems, I think I had a good chance of winning the race," Barrichello said. "As to why I could not match their pace, when they were running properly, I am not sure. The balance of the car was fine, but I just could not keep up.
"It is especially hard to deal with a retirement like the one I suffered in Barcelona, because the one thing we know about Ferrari's F1 cars is that they are usually very reliable. So, in that sense, I am not feeling too good about it. On the other hand, as a professional driver, I am putting the disappointment behind me and looking forward to the next race."
Barrichello, who admitted he had used the launch control system at the start of the Grand Prix, also confessed he had not used traction control all the time.
The Brazilian, on his second year with Ferrari, claimed the news technical regulations introduced in Spain allowed his team and rivals McLaren to move ahead of the rest of the teams, despite the strong showing from Williams at Imola, where Ralf Schumacher took a dominant win.
"What we saw in Spain was that the new rules seem to have recreated the pecking order of last year, with ourselves and McLaren clearly ahead of the rest," Barrichello added. "It seems we are doing a better job of development than the rest."
"I think it (traction control) will play a more significant role on other tighter circuits or if we race in the rain. I am sure it will be more helpful for some drivers than others. There is still a lot of work to do in this area."