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Barrichello proud to have one of F1's toughest jobs
Alan Baldwin | October 12, 2003 18:12 IST
Rubens Barrichello's Japanese Grand Prix victory was almost forgotten on Sunday as celebrations for his Ferrari team mate Michael Schumacher's record sixth Formula One title got underway.
The Brazilian was the one to receive the trophy while Schumacher, eighth, was absent from the podium but still the man of the moment.
Mobbed by photographers and admirers, the German was hoisted high on the shoulders of team members before being showered in champagne in the Ferrari garages.
Barrichello was then asked at the official post-race news conference for a few words on his team mate's extraordinary achievements.
"Well, I think I have one of the toughest jobs, not because I am here sitting in front of the television or the journalists but sometimes just being a team mate to Michael makes life difficult, what people write or say," said Barrichello.
"So I am proud of what I have achieved this year. Even though I didn't achieve as many points as last year or the position that I finished last year, I think it has been a much better year for me.
"I have been on top all the time and I think I made a step up," added the Brazilian, who finished the season fourth overall after being runner-up last year.
Sunday was Barrichello's second win of the season, the other came at Silverstone, and seventh of his career.
He started on pole and, after losing the lead to Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya on the first lap and being harried by Spaniard Fernando Alonso's Renault, he won with an 11 second advantage over McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen.
Raikkonen, Schumacher's only title challenger, was the man Barrichello had to beat and he did his duty. But the Brazilian said it had not been plain sailing.
"I had a hard time all the way through because even though you think it was 15 seconds or something to Kimi and sometimes to David (Coulthard), I felt that if it rained it could ruin everything in one lap so I had to keep pushing," he said.
"(Montoya) was very fast for the first three or four laps but then I was catching up slightly. But then my visor got completely fogged, I couldn't see anything."