Rubens Barrichello will start his home Grand Prix from 15th position after maximising the performance of his RA108 in Q1 at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace. The Brazilian made it through to Q2 for the second consecutive race, while his Honda team-mate Jenson Button missed the cut by just 0.2s and will start tomorrow's race from 17th place.
Sunshine over Sao Paulo increased the track temperature at Interlagos to 41 degrees, which helped the team to find more performance from the option tyres than had been the case in the cooler conditions of yesterday's practice sessions. The drivers set up their cars to suit the conditions early in the session, before going on to improve their lap times significantly.
Rubens' first flying lap of Q1 was 1:13.030s and he improved by more than 0.5s to set the 14th fastest time and progress into Q2.
Jenson completed three runs during Q1. His first lap was a 1:13.351s and he improved to a best time of 1:12.810s. Despite being only a second slower than Felipe Massa's fastest time, it wasn't quite enough to see him progress into the next part of qualifying.
Rubens was unable to achieve the same level of grip in Q2 and his best lap was 0.6s slower than he had managed in Q1 therefore he will line up on the eighth row of the grid.
A great lap today to make Q2 for the second race in succession.
Rubens Barrichello: "I'm pleased that we were able to make it into the second qualifying session here in Interlagos today. We had a perfect lap on my second run in Q1 with the option tyres working really well. Unfortunately we couldn't get the same grip level in Q2 and were really struggling with understeer. Despite tweaking the pressures to try and improve, we weren't able to make any further progress. Without the understeer, I could have hoped for 14th or maybe even 13th but we were right on the limit of the car's performance."
What issues did you face in qualifying today?
Jenson Button: "The car was a definite improvement from practice this morning as I had much more front grip. Unfortunately I made a mistake on my second lap in turn 4, which cost me some time. We made some adjustments to the pressures to help the front end grip before my final run and we were able to go quicker but not by enough. In any case, my car stopped out on track on my in-lap."
How do you feel about the team's qualifying performance today?
Steve Clark, Head of Race & Test Engineering: "Obviously we are very satisfied with Rubens getting through to Q2 for the second time in as many race weekends. Realistically he extracted the maximum from the car with the performance we have today and so this was, in his own words, a fantastic lap. For Jenson, the session was very tight and he didn't quite have the balance to make it through. After progressing through to Q2, with an evolving track, we were just unable to get the balance back with the single set of options he had remaining."
What is the outlook for tomorrow's race?
SC: "The weather may well play a pivotal role in tomorrow's race. Forecasts vary but rain seems extremely likely. From our grid positions, rain, and the chaos it brings, is not unwelcome for us as the conditions hand more responsibility to the driver and both of ours are extremely good in the wet."