Rubens Barrichello Sumar
had one of the fastest climbs from karting to formula one than any other active driver. By the age of 17, he had 5 national karting titles, and promptly went on to win the GM Euroseries in the same year. Formula Three came next for him, where he won the title in 1991 for West Surrey Racing. He had less success the next year, when he tried Formula 3000, but he came third overall, and was ready for Formula One by his twenty-first
Rubens Barrichello made his Formula One debut in 1993, driving for Eddie Jordan, at the South African Grand Prix, where he qualified 14th, but the gearbox failed him on lap 31. He nearly finished in second place, behind his hero and countryman, Ayrton Senna, in only his third race, but fuel problems late in the race prevented this. In 1994, Rubens Barrichello
claimed his first pole position, in the wet at Spa-Francorchamps, but sadly he spun off on lap 19.
That year did see him finish third at the Pacific Grand prix, as well as five other fourth positions. Mechanical failures plagued him in 1995, but the Canadian Grand Prix saw his first second place finish. He stayed with Jordan until the 97 season when he signed with Stewart, where he still remains, bringing home the teams only points when he came second in Monaco. 1998 showed another year without success, with fifth place finishes in Spain and Canada, 9 retirements, and an injury in the aborted start at the Belgian Grand Prix preventing him from restarting, saw him end the season in 12th position with 4 points.
In 1999 he partnered Johnny Herbert and after a very promising start to the season, the car failed on many occasions, but when it didn't. Rubens Barrichello put in some strong performances, even taking pole position in a wet qualifying that took all the drivers by surprise. By mid season it was one of Formula Ones worst kept secrets that Rubens Barrichello
was signing with Ferrari for the 2000 season in a basic swap with Eddie Irvine.
The 2000 season was one Rubens Barrichello would never forget, the year beginning full of hope to fulfill his and his country's dreams of success. His first career victory at Hockenheim is one that will remain etched not just his but all Formula one fans memories for a lifetime, the tears flowing free and easy as he stood on the top step of the podium for the very first time. His efforts throughout the season helped Ferrari clinch victory in the constructor's championship while the Brazilian finished fourth overall in the drivers battle.
Although no further victories were forthcoming in 2001, Rubens Barrichello battled it out for second place in the drivers championship with McLaren driver David Coulthard but failed to pass the Scot and was forced to settle for third. In 2002 another four wins came his way, the most notorious being the one at the USGP when together with teammate Michael Schumacher the duo attempted to create history by crossing the line with the smallest gap in F1 history. It didn't work out as planned however and Rubens took the victory away from Schumacher by a narrow margin instead.
After finishing second in the 2002 championship behind his Ferrari teammate, Rubens suffered a poor season by Ferraris high standards in 2003 as both Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya separated the Brazilian from Championship winner and team-mate Michael Schumacher.
The 2004 season saw Barrichello take two race victories, but both wins came after Schumacher had already wrapped up his title and it can be argued that such is the dominance of the Ferrari team in Formula One, anything other than the runner up position in the championship for Barrichello is a failure. Barrichello gained the runner-up spot in the championship once again in 2004 with no less than 12 podium appearances.
Along with team-mate Schumacher and the whole Ferrari team, Barrichello struggled in 2005. The Bridgestone-Ferrari package was well and truly beaten but its rivals and the Brazilian would score just four podiums on his way to a disappointing eighth position in the championship.
Despite the lack of results in 2005, Barrichello remains a most impressive race driver. Having made the decision to leave the Ferrari family for the 2006 season, Barrichello goes head-to-head with Jenson Button at the newly branded Honda team. Now out of the shadow of Schumacher, Barrichello has his chance to shine.
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