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Rubens Barrichello relishing ‘important’ Le Mans debut

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Ex-Formula 1 driver Rubens Barrichello is relishing his upcoming debut in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, believing it to be an important step in his storied racing career.

Barrichello raced in F1 between 1993 and 2011, taking 11 race wins and finishing second in the drivers’ championship in 2002 and 2004 with Ferrari.

The Brazilian has raced in IndyCar and Brazilian Stock Cars since his F1 career ended, as well as making two starts in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, where he finished second in 2016 with Wayne Taylor Racing.

Barrichello confirmed back in February that he would be making his first Le Mans start in 2017 with Racing Team Nederland in the LMP2 class alongside Jan Lammers and Frits van Eerd.

The F1 veteran will get his first real-life taste of the Circuit de la Sarthe on Sunday during the Le Mans test day, and the prospect of being part of the famous race is something he relishes.

“I watched the race on TV for such a long and time. The fact that I have done Monaco and I have done Indianapolis, I think Le Mans is something that is important to do as well as part of my career too,” Barrichello told the FIA website.

“Most important is the fact that I love what I do. When I raced in Formula 1 after 19 years, people said to me: ‘You should stop, you’ve done so much already’. But I will stop when I think I don’t love driving anymore.

“I’m doing more driving now than I did when I was in Formula 1 with Stock Cars and karting, so I am still a very competitive person.

“So the shot at Le Mans is very nice to do because I love what I do very much.”

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”