Barrichello ends five-year wait

Formula One: European Grand Prix: Brazilian Brawn GP driver notches up an emotional victory at Valencia

ECSTATIC: Brawn GP driver Rubens Barrichello is overcome by emotion after winning the European GP. AFP

Barrichello, whose last victory was with Ferrari in China in September 2004, beat McLaren's world champion Lewis Hamilton by 2.3 seconds on a sizzling afternoon at the Valencia street circuit.

"I wish this moment could last forever. I want to stay here until Monday," said the 37-year-old, who sobbed in his helmet as he took the chequered flag for Brawn's seventh win in 11 starts.

Hamilton had led from pole, with Barrichello qualifying third on a heavier fuel load, but his hopes of winning for the second race in a row went out of the window when his team bungled the second pitstop.

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen finished third. Championship leader Jenson Button, Barrichello's team-mate, laboured to seventh place after a shocking start but, astonishingly, saw his overall lead trimmed by just half a point to 18 with six races left.

The Briton now has 72 to Barrichello's 54 and 51.5 for Red Bull's Australian Mark Webber. Mercedes-powered Brawn have 126 points in the constructors' standings, with Red Bull on 98.5.

Webber finished out of the points in ninth place while German team-mate Sebastian Vettel retired with a blown engine after a similar failure in pre-race practice. He has 47 points.

Barrichello's victory was the 10th of a career that started in 1993 and the Brazilian, the oldest driver on the grid until Luca Badoer was drafted in at Ferrari to replace the injured Felipe Massa, was ecstatic.

"It's fantastic," said Barrichello, whose career had looked to be over when Brawn's predecessors Honda pulled out in December. "It's been a weekend I will never forget.

Strong Force India finish

Formula One points remained out of bounds but Force India underlined their new-found mid-field stature with Adrian Sutil coming in 10th and Giancarlo Fisichella finishing 12th.

Starting 12th on the grid, Sutil moved up to the fifth place before his first pit stop and drove an excellent race subsequently to cling onto his place.

Fisichella, who had started 16th on the grid, did well to finish ahead of both the Toyota cars.

Drivers’ standings (top ten): Jenson Button (Brawn, 72 pts) 1; Rubens Barrichello (Brawn, 54) 2; Mark Webber (Red Bull, 51.5) 3; Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull, 47) 4; Nico Rosberg (Williams, 29.5) 5; Lewis Hamilton (McLaren, 27) 6; Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari, 24) 7; Jarno Trulli (Toyota, 22.5) 8; Felipe Massa (Ferrari, 22) 9; Timo Glock (Toyota, 16) and Fernando Alonso (Renault, 16) 10.

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