Rubens Barrichello took his second victory of the season at the Hungarian Grand Prix and he and second placed Michael Schumacher gave Ferrari their fourth consecutive Constructors' championship. Barrichello led from start to finish with Michael ...
Rubens Barrichello took his second victory of the season at the Hungarian Grand Prix and he and second placed Michael Schumacher gave Ferrari their fourth consecutive Constructors' championship. Barrichello led from start to finish with Michael watching his back while the rest of the field could only watch them disappear into the distance.
Ferrari never put a foot wrong: fast, reliable, good pit stops, it was a perfect demonstration of their superiority and a well deserved title win. Both drivers took it easy in the closing stages, third placed Ralf Schumacher was never close enough to be a problem, although Michael proved a point by setting a new lap record of 1:16.207 on lap 72.
As always, the ecstatic Ferrari team hung off the pit wall to cheer their boys over the line and even the usually less than demonstrative technical director Ross Brawn looked jubilant. The pit wall was calm throughout the race, Brawn not needing to revert to his banana munching tactics that appear in stressful moments. "It's very special to us," he said of Ferrari's fourth title. "Because it reflects on the team and on the car; we are competing against the top car companies in the world and we have managed to win the constructors' championship for the last four years."
Ferrari had a fairly easy time of it but there were one or two surprises down the field. Ralf had a solitary race in third but team mate Juan Pablo Montoya had a rough ride. After a poor start he was battling with McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen; Montoya ran wide on the kerb and some of the underbody of the car came off.
Raikkonen piled on the pressure from behind and Montoya tried to hold him off but to no avail. The Finn barged past and Montoya went wide again, losing out to Renault's Jarno Trulli and Raikkonen's team mate David Coulthard as well.
The Colombian pitted and went out again but later reported the car was 'undriveable'. There were some rather heated discussions on the pit wall between Williams' technical director Patrick Head and chief operations manager Sam Michael and Montoya stayed out on track. Head was evidently not happy at all; perhaps he should have borrowed one of Brawn's bananas. Straight after he complained about the car, Montoya set a personal best in the first sector. He finally finished 11th.
McLaren were the other winners of the day. Raikkonen's move on Montoya was a brave one and he went on to line up the Renault of Jenson Button. He was saved the trouble when Button made an error, bouncing sideways off the kerb and into the gravel to end his race.
Couthard was battling with Trulli and was also saved the effort when Trulli pitted. Free of the slower Renaults, both McLarens picked up the pace to threaten Sauber's Felipe Massa and the Jordan of Giancarlo Fisichella. The second round of pit stops, Raikkonen and Coulthard gained the advantage into fourth and fifth.
Massa must have been disappointed to finish in seventh after running a strong race. A good start put him up to fifth and Fisichella also had a good start, moving up to fourth. They ran in fourth and fifth quite comfortably until McLaren got the jump on them in the stops and Fisichella came home sixth.
Their team mates Nick Heidfeld and Takuma Sato has an uneventful time, Heidfeld catching Trulli towards the end but he couldn't get close enough to really put him under pressure. He finished ninth behind Trulli and Sato tenth.
Honda revealed this morning that their partnership with Jordan would come to an end after this season, which many expected. Before the race, Eddie Jordan announced he had agreed a three year deal with Ford for Cosworth engines. Reportedly Jaguar CEO and team principal Niki Lauda was not happy about Jordan and Cosworth but the deal was done over his head. It will be interesting to see what this means, if anything, for Jaguar Racing.
Olivier Panis had an inexplicable disaster early on when he dropped back to nineteenth then later he very nearly crashed into Montoya in the pit lane. He finished twelfth but BAR team mate Jacques Villeneuve continued his depressing season by cruising to a halt at the exit of the pit lane after only 21 laps.
Pedro de la Rosa and Mika Salo also very nearly had a pit lane problem. Scrapping for much of the race, they pitted together: de la Rosa's Jaguar had the better stop and pulled away first but Salo seemingly didn't see him coming and swung the Toyota out into his path. De la Rosa swerved, doing very well to avoid a collision and Salo took to the track first. They finished 13th and 14th.
(Note: Salo recieved a 25 second penalty because of the incident after the race that changed the official result to him being placed 15th, McNish 14th and de la Rosa 13th.)
Eddie Irvine had no luck, pulling his Jaguar off the track and onto an escape road early in the race, thumping the steering wheel in frustration. "Well, it's not ideal," he said wryly of his unexpected stop. "We've had problems with the car the last two days. I was going well (in the race), was faster than the guys around me but then I got a misfire. Then it just stopped." A shame for Irvine as he was up to 13th and aside from the Ferraris and Ralf he was indeed the fastest man on track at the time.
Allan McNish had a quiet time, coming home 15th, as did the Minardis. Anthony Davidson wasn't doing too bad in his first Grand Prix but seemed overly cautious. Being lapped by the Ferraris he practically stopped by the side of the track to let them past. He finished in the gravel after spinning off at turn eight on lap 62. Mark Webber was plagued all race by problems with his drinks bottle. Trying to fix the problem in a pit stop cost him time and he finished 16th and last.
Usually a circuit of high attrition, there were only four retirees from the Hungarian GP: Villeneuve, Button, Irvine and Davidson. McLaren certainly got the best out of the Michelin tyres after their poor qualifying performance but the day belonged to Ferrari. Barrichello's victory was the sixth consecutive one for the team this year and he and Michael finished well ahead of Ralf.
There was little in the way of excitement save for a few moments in the midfield -- with a Ferrari front row at the start there was never really any doubt that the Constructors' title would be theirs. Final top six classification: Barrichello, M. Schumacher, R. Schumacher, Raikkonen, Coulthard, Fisichella.