• Williams news

Barrichello sets impressive benchmark

ESPNF1 Staff
April 26, 2010 « Mercedes adapts car for Schumacher | »
Rubens Barrichello: setting a standard for his team-mate to follow © Sutton Images
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Rookie Nico Hulkenberg has joined Williams team bosses in raving about the form of Formula One's most experienced driver Rubens Barrichello.

At the end of a miserable 2008 season with Honda, Barrichello seemed set to end his F1 career on a low. But the team reinvented itself as Brawn, where Barrichello out-performed his team-mate and eventual champion Jenson Button in the second half of 2009.

Barrichello, 37, switched to Williams this year and so far has shown the way to his highly-rated young team-mate Hulkenberg, the reigning champion of GP2.

"How he drives the car just eight tenths slower than the front is puzzling," the 22-year-old German told Auto Motor und Sport. "And then when the car is really difficult, Rubens puts in a lap that really makes me wonder how he does it."

However, he sees the situation as a positive one. "He's an experienced driver who last year won races in a winning car. If I'm with him in qualifying and beating him in the races, it will be a success."

But if it takes some more time to catch up to Barrichello, Hulkenberg said he is not worried. "It is a learning year and part of the development process," he said.

But Barrichello himself believes Williams needed to find a second's worth of pace to compete with the top teams. "We know exactly where we need to find some of our pace," he said. "We shall not suddenly somewhere, get a second. The important thing is that I am firmly convinced that this second is in the car. We will improve the car further and further. We have to come in qualifying in the top six. Even to achieve this, we need to find half a second."