Istanbul: The Brazilian veteran busied himself as so often in his previous 257/8/9* starts; awaking in his specially built race-bungalow extra early Rubens got himself fired up for his record-breaking start by brewing up a nice cup of tea, feeding his cat, Ayrton and going for a bit of a walk “just to get downstairs moving” – ensuring he wrapped up warm against the unseasonably chilly Turkish weather, first.
Later, found confused, clad only in his dressing gown wandering aimlessly around a nearby farm some 3 miles away, Barrichello was collected by a party of specially trained Honda mechanics and rushed to the circuit where he was debriefed on strategy, circuit dynamics, weather, who he was racing for, what day I SAID WHAT DAY IT WAS!!!! and who all these strange people in funny boiler suits were.
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On the grid, a brief photo call in front of the world’s media and – string-backed driving gloves first – the 9 time GP winner climbed aboard the Honda RA108 having been ushered away from the number 2 Ferrari he had previously been trying to get into, ready for his 257th/8th/9th* start.
Though not especially eventful, nearly 200 miles of racing still took its toll on the South American pensioner.
“It was tough out there for sure”, he commented, “after 10 laps my arms started to weaken and after another 15 the flask of tea ran out. Then I got quite tired and wanted to pull in for a nap but I couldn’t find the indicator and nobody was letting me in so I had to keep going. I need the toilet now as well. Has anyone got a jumper? It’s chilly isn’t it?”
Later, the record-breaking Brazilian also admitted that after 30 laps he’d forgotten why he went out in the first place then failed to attend the specially arranged event to celebrate the new record having taken a nap in his favourite armchair 2 hours earlier from which he could not be roused.
* delete where Rubens considers applicable