It was July 30, 2000 and that day in Germany, on the legendary Hockenheim circuit, when the track was still nearly seven kilometers long and penetrated into the forest, one of the strangest, most incredible and exciting Grand Prix races in the history of F1 took place. That afternoon Rubens Barrichello he won his first victory in the Circus, becoming – at least for two hours – the reference point of the Ferrari world. Yes why Michael Schumacher, leader of the championship and destined that year to open his cycle of world championship triumphs in red, he eliminated himself together with Giancarlo Fisichella at the first corner. So, trying to keep Hakkinen and Coulthard’s two McLarens at bay, Rubinho had to think about it.
The Brazilian that day was even shooting from 18th position, after a disastrous qualification. Lap after lap, however, the paulista managed to climb up to third place. Here, the first twist: a ‘runway invasion, implemented by a former Mercedes employee who wanted to protest his dismissal, forced the Race Direction to let the Safety Car in. To add spice to the day, however, the weather took care of it. In the second half of the race, in fact, a flood it began to crash only on some sections of the German track. At that point it was Barrichello who invented the stroke of genius, staying on the track with dry tires while everyone else stopped.
“In that race Ross [Brawn] he told me over the radio ‘OK, come to the pits on the next lap. It’s raining and they’ve all returned to the pits’ – said the former Prancing Horse driver, interviewed by Motorsport News – ior I answered him ‘No Ross, something is wrong. The track is not wet ‘. To which he answered me again ‘Yes, but everyone is stopping in the pits’. I went back and told him ‘They must be wrong, because I don’t see the wet track’“.
From this choice, the chance of victory was born. “At that point – Barrichello continues – Ross told me: ‘OK boy, you may be a fool, but if the insanity works, you will win the race‘. The last lap the track was completely wet, but I couldn’t go back. I was 10 seconds ahead. The slowest corner I’ve ever done in my life was the last corner at Hockenheim that day. “ Rubinho recalled.