Rubens Barrichello is keeping things interesting in the “best of the rest” category for 2010. With a top ten finish two weeks ago in Bahrain and slotting his Williams F1 car in 8th place for the start of the Australian Grand Prix tomorrow, it seems the hiring of Barrichello may have been one of the better moves Williams has made in some time.
No one says it’s easy to catch Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren or Mercedes but the real title fight behind the title fight is heating up and Williams seems to be taking it to Force India, Renault, Sauber and Toro Rosso this weekend. Qualifying is one thing and the race is another so we’ll have to wait before heaping praise on Williams but I am encouraged by the spirited performance of the veteran Brazilian and team as a whole.
Currently Force India are the pivotal “5th team” or the “best of the rest” and with the German driver Adrian Sutil starting 10th, two places behind Barrichello, this may be the race within the race to watch. Can Williams hold off the McLaren-inspired Force India? Can the weathered veteran bring Williams back to the front? Speaking of McLaren, an errant qualifying session has Lewis Hamilton starting 11th and will be keen to get around both Sutil and Barrichello and this too will add an element of competitiveness to the 5th Team championship.
Notably you will want to keep your eye on Renault’s Robert Kubica who splits Sutil and Barrichello in 9th. Renault have a lot to prove and Kubica is certainly no one to be trifled with. Many expected Renault or Force India to be the 5th team and Williams presence there is shaping up to be an interesting battle all year long.