Rubens reflects: Senna, Schumacher (of course) and his first wiu

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Rubens Barrichello is setting, as we all know, an impressive record this weekend at Spa: 300 Formula 1 starts. He’s 44 clear of Riccardo Patrese and 51 clear of some dude named Michael Schumacher.

The BBC’s Sarah Holt has a nice feature, which mostly is nice because it offers a lot of Rubens’ talking. Here are a few excerpts, but don’t be afraid to jump over there and take a full look:

It’s magic, a great honour” said Barrichello, who was wearing a T-shirt showing a speedometer with the needle pointing to the 300 mark.

“I am surprised that I am still so enthusiastic. I remember at my first race in Kyalami, I saw Ayrton Senna coming out of the pits and I was in doubt thinking, am I looking at my television?

“It was such a fantastic feeling being part of the action and I’ve had a great time in the 299 races since.”

[snip]

“During the summer break in Brazil, I put some videos of my old races onto DVD and I’ve been watching them at half past five in the morning,” Barrichello revealed.

“The ones I’ve been watching most are from Formula Ford, Formula Three and Formula 3000.

“But the race that stands out for me in F1 is (my first win) on slick, grooved tyres at Hockenheim in 2000.

“I was watching it the other day and it really made me smile and cry again because it was such an emotion to go through.”

[snip]

On the first day of running at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, Barrichello hit the wall, his Jordan flipped upside down and he was knocked unconscious. The first person he remembers seeing at his bedside was his mentor, Williams driver Ayrton Senna.

Two days later, Senna was killed when he crashed into the wall when leading the grand prix.

“I had a broken nose, a broken memory and a broken heart in a way,” recalled Barrichello.

“It was the very first funeral I even went to and it was very hard to believe that Ayrton was part of that.

“It was a very tough moment but one that taught me everything I know, the one that taught me how to overcome difficulties – and that’s why I am here right now.”

[snip]

Does he regret his time with Ferrari spent in Schumacher’s shadow?

“No, I don’t regret anything,” Barrichello said. “I can be proud of my memories [at Ferrari].

“I fought to have the same treatment and the day that I felt, OK, they’re not going to give that to me is the day when I left the team.

“During those years, the car was better than all the other cars – and I had been on the other page with Jordan and Stewart. I had the chance to win races even though Michael was there – and so I wouldn’t change anything.”

I’m not sure that Rubens is going to be able to celebrate his 300th start with a great finish on Sunday, but we’ll see. The last weather forecast I saw was dry for practice, a bit wet for qualifying and then dry again for the race. So who knows where everyone will be slotted?

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