x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Barrichello's big chance in Brazil

This weekend's race in Brazil is going to be a good one as the Interlagos track is tough on the drivers.

This weekend's race in Brazil is going to be a good one as the Interlagos track is tough on the drivers. I never really had much luck there during my career for various reasons, although I finished fourth there in 1993, which was my best result. It is an anti-clockwise circuit and it puts different physical pressures on the driver to what they are used to. Plus it is very bumpy and makes it a tough track to get a good set-up for.

It is a race where a few drivers consistently go well and teams shine at and in recent years Ferrari have gone very well there. With it being Brazil and his home race I expect Rubens Barrichello to be at the top of his game and at the front, and I think Lewis Hamilton will also go well there at a circuit that I think will suit him and his McLaren-Mercedes. Rubens needs to win the race if he is to realistically have a chance of catching his Brawn GP teammate Jenson Button, and I think in some ways that will help take the pressure off him if he concentrates simply on winning the race.

That is all he can do and knowing Rubens as I do I expect him just to focus on winning at home and enjoying the vocal support he is going to be given. For Jenson it is difficult as he has hired more security for his safety just as Lewis did when he was fighting another Brazilian in Felipe Massa for the championship last year. Having to change his routine a little may hurt Jenson as what he needs to do is concentrate on the job in hand and getting the six points he needs to be champion.

He has been saying for the last few races that he was going to put his foot down and look to lead from the front and it just hasn't happened. I don't think it will happen here either, with it being his teammate's backyard. Sebastian Vettel will be strong after his dominant win in his Red Bull in Japan and he will be confident he can fight for the win he needs to stay in the title picture. Red Bull are strong and he will be boosted by the fact that while the Brawn cars will be racing each other, he has his teammate Mark Webber who is quick and capable of helping him by taking points off his rivals.

As I said, I think Hamilton will be a factor. He has driven well here before and will enjoy racing here without have a championship fight at stake. Rain is forecast for qualifying and when it does rain it really does throw it down. The interesting thing is that due to the temperature it can dry very quickly, which means it can be tricky to be on the right tyre if conditions are changing. In 1993 I started on wet tyres and that proved right for the conditions, and then I was one of the first to move to dry tyres when the conditions dried very quickly, and this allowed me to move up and have a battle with Michael Schumacher, which I eventually lost.

When this has happened and it has been wet in qualifying there is always one guy who seems to have the ability to be on the right tyre at the right time: Rubens. Look for him to shine if it is wet for tomorrow's practice session. I have got a feeling the championship battle is going to go to the final race. It has been one of those seasons where so much has happened and it is one of the most competitive that I can remember.

You had Brawn and Jenson dominating early on, then Red Bull came good and Sebastian and Mark won races. Since then you've had McLaren and Ferrari coming good and Rubens getting some wins: it makes it very difficult to know who just who is going to do well because the gap between the teams is so small. @Email:sports@thenational.ae