Rubens Barrichello ended Williams' European Grand Prix on a high, finishing fourth to record by far the team's highest finish of the season.
However, whilst also running a points position, the Brazilian's rookie teammate Nico Hulkenburg suffered an exhaust failure according to the team (preceeded a few laps earlier, by a plume of smoke for the rear of the car). The damage caused significant damage to the bodywork on the rear of the right sidepod on the car, as well as the right-rear tyre. Hulkenburg himself also described the car catching fire, though there were no visible flames as he brought the car to a halt.
Even before then the German's race had not been easy. “I was running in tenth before the safety car came out,” he explains. “It wasn't good timing for me because I had called in a flat spot on my tyre half a lap earlier and wanted to pit but by then it was too late. Combined with having to stack, I really lost all my places there. When the safety car came in I couldn't keep Alonso behind me.”
Barrichello on the other hand, lucky enough to be ahead and avoid having to wait in the pitlane stacking was far more positive; “It was great fun out there today and the car was behaving well throughout the race. We really seem to be heading in the right direction with the development of the car and I hope that this improved performance continues for the rest of the season.”
“That was a good performance today by both cars, and definitely a step forward,” enthused Technical Director Sam Michael. “Unfortunately, an exhaust failure cost Nico a possible point today and we will be investigating the cause back at the factory. The team is now looking forward to its home race at Silverstone and consolidating the step in performance we've made with further upgrades for the FW32.”