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Rubens Barrichello backs Williams team-mate Hulkenberg

Williams driver Nico Hulkenberg

Hulkenberg 'amazed' to take pole

By Sarah Holt
BBC Sport in Sao Paulo

Rubens Barrichello says his Williams team-mate Nico Hulkenberg deserves to keep his seat in 2011 after the rookie snatched pole in Brazil.

There are question marks over the future of both drivers, with GP2 champion Hulkenberg strongly linked to a seat at the team next year.

But Barrichello said: "I hope Nico stays because he's a good guy."

On his own future the Brazilian added: "I cannot confirm [but] there is no reason to think I am out. I'm cool."

Strong team-work between the two Williams drivers came into play during the final stages of a damp qualifying session for the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Hulkenberg grabbed pole from the championship contenders by following Barrichello's decision to go out early on the dry tyres as the track conditions changed.

El Sueño de Morfeo

But fresh speculation over whether they will keep their seats cast a shadow over their achievements at Interlagos.

Williams are understood to be considering appointing a driver who is able to inject funding into the team.

When asked again to clarify the situation, Barrichello, who joined the team from Brawn at the end of last season, said: "I don't know what the situation is with the team.

"[These rumours] are new to me. Even today we talked about next year's car.

"I tell you it is unbelievable how things are. All I can say is that I hope Nico stays.

"I believe I have one of the strongest team-mates, especially because of his youth. He's truly good.

"I like his attitude. He does not have a lot of experience but the way he translates comments are in the right direction. It shows he has been a champion before."

Hulkenberg, 23, entered Formula 1 this season after winning the feeder GP2 Series crown in emphatic fashion in 2009. Pastor Maldonado, from Venezuela, succeeded him as champion this year in his fourth year in the formula.

Nico Hulkenberg

Highlights - Brazilian Grand Prix qualifying

Hulkenberg has not been re-signed for 2011 and with Maldonado testing for Williams in the close season young driver event in Abu Dhabi, his place remains under threat.

Williams engineering director Patrick Head, a co-owner of the team, cut short further discussions on their 2011 driver line-up in Brazil.

"We are not making any statements until after the season," said Head. "And if we have anything nasty to say we'll let [chief executive] Adam Parr say it."

However, Head also went on to praise Hulkenberg after he took the team's first pole since 2005.

"He's progressed a lot during the year [although] he was at a good level right when he started," he said.

"Formula 1 throws up significantly bigger challenges than any of the other formulae.

"You can feel that he's very much more in control of the cockpit now, in terms of when to be quick and when to leave a margin. He's got quite a mature head on his shoulders."

Hulkenberg said: "All I can do is do my best and hope that is good enough for the team to keep me on."

Mark Webber, Nicio hulkenburg and Sebastian Vettel

Top three drivers - Brazilian GP qualifying

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see also
Hulkenberg grabs pole in Brazil
06 Nov 10 |  Formula 1
Williams impressed by Hulkenberg
29 Oct 10 |  Formula 1
Brazilian GP qualifying as it happened
06 Nov 10 |  Formula 1
Red Bull dominate Brazil practice
05 Nov 10 |  Formula 1
Webber coy over Red Bull future
05 Nov 10 |  Formula 1
Brazilian GP practice as it happened
05 Nov 10 |  Formula 1
F1 practice photos
05 Nov 10 |  Formula 1
Friday's F1 gossip column
05 Nov 10 |  Gossip
Zoom in and fly around Interlagos
14 Oct 09 |  Formula 1
Nico Hulkenberg profile
19 Nov 10 |  Drivers & Teams

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