Barrichello takes pole 05 Apr 2003
The moment that Rubens Barrichello set the best time in sector two on his qualifying lap, the screams of his supporters in the pit grandstand echoed across Interlagos.
Both Jenson Button and Juan Pablo Montoya went quickest when the dry session began, running early after their Friday problems, and then Fisichella, Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli replaced them as the quickest runners. But when Michael Schumacher surprisingly made a mistake in Turn One and temporarily held only third place, the stage seemed set for a shoot-out between the McLaren Mercedes duo and Barrichello.
David Coulthard went to the top, but a mistake kept Raikkonen behind him and left the crowd on tenterhooks. Could the local boy make good?
"In the past the pressure from the public has been a handicap," Rubens said, "but now it is an advantage."
Nevertheless, nobody could relax until Mark Webber, fastest on Friday, had got to the finish line. The Australian ultimately came up fractions short, and Barrichello and his countrymen could really celebrate.
"It was a good lap," Rubens said. "I was watching the split times on the dashboard and I just hope my strategy is right tomorrow."
Further back, in only seventh place, an unhappy Schumacher shrugged philosophically. "My mistake cost me," he admitted. "Seventh doesn't look very good, but we'll see what happens tomorrow."
It is the world champion's worst qualifying performance in races he has entered since the 1998 German Grand Prix.