World championship leader Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) moved closer to a record-equalling fifth Formula One title by scoring his seventh victory of the season at Silverstone. The German put on a faultless display in the rain-affected 60-lap race...
World championship leader Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) moved closer to a record-equalling fifth Formula One title by scoring his seventh victory of the season at Silverstone. The German put on a faultless display in the rain-affected 60-lap race and overtook pole position winner Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams-BMW/Michelin) shortly after both drivers had pitted for wet tyres following a sudden shower. Montoya had kept Schumacher at bay until that point, but once the Ferrari star moved ahead he was never seriously challenged again. It was his 60th grand prix victory but only his second in Britain.
Montoya went on to fight hard for second place with Schumacher's team-mate Rubens Barrichello, but finally had to cede to the Brazilian with 12 laps remaining. Barrichello had to fight with more than just the Colombian before trailing his team-mate across the lead: he was forced to start at the back of the field after stalling before the final formation lap. Montoya went on to end a run of bad luck by finishing third. A variety of technical problems had prevented him completing any race since the Austrian GP in May.
BAR-Honda drivers Jacques Villeneuve and Olivier Panis finished fourth and fifth to give the team its first points of the season. Nick Heidfeld finished sixth for Sauber.
Ralf Schumacher (Williams-BMW, eighth) was the highest-placed of the remaining Michelin drivers, although the German would definitely have scored points had he not been forced to make an extra pit stop because of a refuelling problem. David Coulthard (McLaren-Mercedes, 10th) lost time early in the race by pressing on with dry-weather tyres just before the rain started in earnest; later, he came back in for more dry tyres just before the rain began to fall heavily again. Pedro de la Rosa (Jaguar, 11th) was the only other Michelin-equipped car to take the chequered flag; Jenson Button (Renault, 12th) was classified as a finisher, although he pulled off with a technical problem six laps from the end.
Of the other Michelin partners, Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren-Mercedes) ran as high as third in the early stages before mistimed tyre stops dropped him down the order. A technical problem later forced him to retire. Jarno Trulli (Renault) pulled off with a car problem, Eddie Irvine (Jaguar) crashed, Mika Salo (Toyota) retired with a broken driveshaft, Mark Webber (KL Minardi-Asiatech) spun into a gravel trap and Allan McNish (Toyota) failed to start what would have been his first home grand prix after his engine died at the start.
Pierre Dupasquier (Motorsport Director)
A difficult wet/dry race-- another Ferrari demonstration. What did you make of it?
"They weren't just three to four seconds per lap than our cars, they were that much faster than everybody -- including Villeneuve, Heidfeld and Fisichella who are all exceptionally good drivers in the rain - but they were on the same tyres and were all three to four seconds per lap slower. Juan Pablo did a really good race, with a correct strategy, finishing at 31 secondes from the winner. "
What did you learn about your own wet and intermediate tyres during the race?
OThere were some very positive aspects. Our intermediate tyres have been much maligned in the past, but if you look at the lap times David Coulthard was doing they stood up very well in today's conditions. McLaren was a bit unfortunate today: the weather conditions were unpredictable and although the team's tyre gambles didn't pay off, they could well have done. It was a risk worth taking."
Did we see both of your dry-weather compounds in the race?
"Yes. Some partner teams, including McLaren and Williams, ran our primary (A) tyre, while Renault was one of those that selected our option (B) tyre."
Within three weeks, we will be at the much-revised Hockenheim. Have you had chance to take a look at the new, shorter track?
"Yes -- but we haven't finalised our tyre compounds yet because we are still analysing the layout. It really will be a step into the unknown. It is so new that there haven't been any races at all there yet -- the first will be the Formula 3000 event that acts as a curtain-raiser to the German GP two weeks from now. I have good memories of the venue, though, because our tyres were very effective on the old track last year, when Ralf Schumacher won for Williams and BMW."