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Home > Sports > Formula One > Reuters > Report

Sato laughs off Barrichello's charge

Erik Kirschbaum | May 31, 2004 12:02 IST

Japan's Takuma Sato laughed off accusations of "amateur" driving from Rubens Barrichello after the pair collided at the European Grand Prix on Sunday.

Sato was battling it out with the Ferrari driver for second place at the Nuerburgring when he tried to overtake on lap 46 and the two cars made contact, leaving his BAR needing a new nose and the Brazilian unhappy.

"I am sorry to say it but I think it was a bit too amateur of Sato to do that because he wasn't in a position to actually try and overtake," Barrichello said.

But Sato, who on Sunday became the first Japanese driver to start on the front row of the grid in a Formula One grand prix, said he had merely been unlucky.

"I had to laugh when I heard him say that," said Sato, who retired with a blown engine a lap after the collision. "What he said was totally untrue. He never looked at the replay. I was totally in control. He just didn't see it."

"I had fresh tyres, I had a lot of grip and the car was so nice. I was totally in control. He never looked up. He didn't see in his mirrors. It was just an unlucky situation."

"In this business you have to be (ambitious)."

Barrichello, who finished second in a Ferrari one-two behind world champion Michael Schumacher, said the aerodynamics of his Ferrari may have been damaged in the collision.

BAR boss Dave Richards, who had the consolation of seeing his other driver Briton Jenson Button grab third place for his fifth podium of the season, gave Sato his backing.

"The sport needs heroes," he said. "It needs people who don't win races by calculating results of the race on a computer the day before. It needs people who actually take up every opportunity and challenge to the last lap."

"I'd rather be seen as a fighting team and challenging team rather than a team that sat down and calculated everything beforehand and runs out computer programmes of how we're going to perform," Richards added.

Sato was a BAR test driver last year after a debut season with Jordan in 2002 and has two fifth-place finishes and eight points for BAR.

After Saturday's dazzling performance in qualifying, the 27-year-old had high hopes of beating Aguri Suzuki's record best finish for a Japanese of third, which Suzuki achieved in a Lola Lamborghini at his home grand prix in 1990.

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