Suzuka - Dream end of the season
For Rubens Barrichello

Ferrari driver Rubens Barrichello and his wife Sylvana arrived home in Brazil on Monday morning after the United States Grand Prix and the following day he was out relaxing on the golf course. He didn't have an easy time of it however as it was dry for some holes and raining for others, rather like a practice session at Spa- Francorchamps! However he was happy to be home and spending some valuable time with his wife and young son.

“It was good to come home and see my son,” Rubens said. “Apparently he watched the last 20 laps of the grand prix on TV, but at one year old, he is still too young to understand what is going on.”

The Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro driver was delighted with the result of the US Grand Prix, where he took the fifth win of his Formula One career in a photo finish, especially as the Indianapolis weekend got off to a bad start when he crashed his F2002 into the wall at the last turn during the first day of practice.

“It was unfortunate I hit the wall after the tyre lost pressure for some reason. I didn't have time to get scared as it was such a surprise. It meant that for Saturday morning's session I had to rely partly on Michael's settings and even for qualifying, I did not find the perfect balance on the car. The team decided to put both Michael and Rubens on an aggressive two stop strategy for the race, but with both Ferraris starting from the front row, it was deemed the best way to go as temperatures climbed during Sunday.

“We felt two stops was the right strategy, as the weather was much hotter on race day and so we did not know exactly what to expect from the race in terms of tyre wear and performance,” explained the Brazilian. “It seemed safer to go for two pit stops and it worked perfectly.”

With nothing planned prior to the start and no team radio instructions, Rubens was as surprised as anyone when his teammate slowed at the final corner. Schumacher had dominated the entire weekend, from Friday's practice sessions to qualifying to the race. He led all the way from the start until the final seconds when he slowed allowing Rubens to take the victory.

“I saw Michael going wide round the turn and then back off,” recalled Barrichello. “At first I thought he was trying to give me the win, but I wasn't sure so I also slowed down and then he slowed even more and in my mind that was the final confirmation he was letting me by. Other people might have been confused but I was delighted to win the race for myself and for Ferrari.”

This Sunday, Barrichello will leave home for Tokyo, where he will be making promotional appearances for Scuderia partners Bridgestone and Shell as well as getting used to the time difference prior to travelling to Suzuka for the Japanese Grand Prix. Before then, the Brazilian will keep up his fitness program to be in top shape for the last of this year's 17 races.

“I'll be mainly cycling and running, which I enjoy more than the work in the gym, even if that is an essential part of the program,” he explained. “I've enjoyed the year and I'm looking forward to doing well in Japan, where we will be hoping to give Bridgestone a good result in their one hundredth grand prix. But there is also a feeling of being glad this beautiful season is coming to an end, especially as the journey from Brazil to Japan is the longest one of the year and it feels as though you spend a week in the plane.