Monaco GP: Michelin race notes

MONTOYA AND MICHELIN MASTER MONACO Williams-BMW star nails second F1 success; runner-up Räikkönen extends world championship lead Juan Pablo Montoya has had to wait since September 2001 to add to his Formula One victory tally -- but he ended a...

MONTOYA AND MICHELIN MASTER MONACO
Williams-BMW star nails second F1 success; runner-up Räikkönen extends world championship lead

Juan Pablo Montoya has had to wait since September 2001 to add to his Formula One victory tally -- but he ended a long drought in some style with a faultless drive through the streets of Monte Carlo. The Colombian gave Michelin its 68th F1 success, its fifth in the principality and its third of the season.

He fended off a fierce challenge from world championship leader Kimi Räikkönen (McLaren-Mercedes/Michelin) to win by just 0.6 second Defending world champion Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) was in the frame, too, and shadowed the leaders across the line. Räikkönen has extended his series lead over Schumacher to four points.

Montoya said: "Today was the ideal day. The car worked well, the tyres worked well and the team did a fantastic job. We really needed this. "

It was Williams-BMW's first win since Malaysia 2002.

Pole position qualifier Ralf Schumacher (BMW WilliamsF1 Team/Michelin) led initially, but he slipped back after the first of his two scheduled pit stops and eventually finished fourth -- despite briefly kissing the tyre barrier when he locked up his brakes at Rascasse -- a tight, testing right-hander.

Michelin drivers filled six of the top eight places. Renault team-mates Fernando Alonso and Jarno Trulli just got the better of McLaren star David Coulthard -- winner here in 2000 -- after a battle that lasted most of the afternoon.

Cristiano da Matta did a capable job for Toyota. The Brazilian ran in the top ten from the start and finished ninth. Rarely for a Monaco GP rookie, he did not put a mark on his car all weekend. Team-mate Olivier Panis, a former winner of the event, had a difficult a time and finished 13th, four laps in arrears, as last of the surviving finishers.

Jaguar drivers Mark Webber and Antonio Pizzonia were both out of luck. Webber ran ninth from the start but made an unscheduled early stop before pitting again with a terminal hydraulic fault. Pizzonia was running 14th when an elcetrical problem forced him to park up at the chicane.

The race was briefly interrupted by a Safety Car period during the early stages, after Heinz-Harald Frentzen crashed spectacularly at the swimming pool complex on the opening lap. The German was not seriously hurt but it took several minutes to clear his badly damaged Sauber from the track.

Michelin's day: Pierre Dupasquier -- Michelin Motorsport Director

MICHELIN AND MONTOYA MASTER MONACO
The BMW WilliamsF1 Team dominated the 61st Monaco Grand Prix to give Michelin its 68th world championship grand prix win. Juan Pablo Montoya scored his second Formula One success after pegging back a fierce challenge from world championship leader Kimi Räikkönen (McLaren-Mercedes/Michelin).

The result extended the Finn's series lead to four points and enabled McLaren to regain first place in the world championship for constructors. It was Michelin's third win of the season and its fifth in the Monaco GP. Jody Scheckter (1979), Gilles Villeneuve (1981), Alain Prost (1984) and David Coulthard (2002) were the company's previous winners in the principality

SIX IN THE CITY
Michelin drivers filled six of the top seven positions in today's race. Behind Montoya and Räikkönen, Ralf Schumacher (Williams-BMW), Fernando Alonso (Renault), Jarno Trulli (Renault) and David Coulthard (McLaren-Mercedes) occupied fourth to seventh places. Pierre Dupasquier said: "This result reflects the kind of performance our pre-race testing led us to expect."

"No matter how confident you are, however, you never get a true picture of tyre consistency until you encounter proper race conditions. Our staff and partner teams did a tremendous job preparing for this race and I would like to extend my congratulations to Juan Pablo and everybody at Williams-BMW. They have worked hard to overcome a difficult start to the season and they thoroughly deserved this. It's also worth pointing out that McLaren looks incredibly strong even before it introduces its new car."

A GAME OF MONOPOLY
Michelin monopolised the Monaco GP weekend. In addition to Juan Pablo Montoya's victory, the Clermont-Ferrand company netted pole position (Ralf Schumacher, Williams-BMW) and fastest race lap (Kimi Räikkönen, McLaren-Mercedes).

-michelin-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes , Sauber , McLaren , Williams