RÃ„IKKÃ–NEN ENDS PODIUM DROUGHT Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) maintained his spectacular run of form to win the British Grand Prix - but he had to fight every metre of the way to secure his 10th win from 11 starts this season. The German started...
RÄIKKÖNEN ENDS PODIUM DROUGHT
Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) maintained his spectacular run of form to win the British Grand Prix - but he had to fight every metre of the way to secure his 10th win from 11 starts this season. The German started fourth but moved to the front of the field after the first round of pit stops - and stayed there to the flag. Pole winner Kimi Räikkönen (Team McLaren Mercedes/Michelin) grabbed the early advantage and continued to push Schumacher hard after ceding the lead.
With Räikkönen due to pit three times, the race appeared to swing Schumacher's way after he retained the lead after his second and final scheduled stop. The Finn was able to dilute his rival's advantage, however, when the Safety Car came out to allow debris to be cleared after Jarno Trulli (Renault/'Michelin) crashed spectacularly - fortunately without serious injury - on the approach to Priory Corner.
Räikkönen pitted while the race was neutralised and closed right onto the leader's tail, but Schumacher eventually shook him off to win by 2.1s. After a troubled start to his season, this was Räikkönen's first podium finish since last October's Japanese GP.
"Although we didn't win today it was an exciting race, and second is a great result for the entire team. All the hard work that went into development of the MP4-19B has paid off. I made a very good start and was able to push throughout the race. The outcome of today's race is very motivating for the team after the bad first half of the season." said Kimi.
The winner's Ferrari team-mate Rubens Barrichello took third, just ahead of a clutch of Michelin runners. Jenson Button's hopes of a podium finish in his home race were narrowly dashed. The B*A*R-Honda star finished fourth, ahead of Juan Pablo Montoya (BMW WilliamsF1 Team/Michelin), Giancarlo Fisichella (Sauber-Petronas), David Coulthard (Team McLaren Mercedes/'Michelin) and Mark Webber (Jaguar Racing/Michelin).
Trulli and Olivier Panis (Panasonic Toyota Racing, technical problem) were the only two Michelin drivers not to pass the chequered flag. Fernando Alonso (Renault) was docked 10 places on the grid and had to start 16th rather than sixth. Stuck in traffic for much of the afternoon, he eventually finished 10th ahead of Takuma Sato (B*A*R-Honda, 11th), Marc Gené (BMW WilliamsF1 Team, 12th), Cristiano da Matta (Toyota, 13th) and Christian Klien (Jaguar, 14th).
Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director:
"Our tyres have shown an excellent blend of performance and consistency throughout the weekend and our partner teams used the same compound. Kimi Räikkönen did a terrific job and I am delighted to see McLaren back on form. It is clear that we have several partners who will be capable of challenging for victory in this season's remaining races. Michael Schumacher had to work hard today and we have an intensive test programme lined up at Jerez this week to make life even tougher for him two weeks from now at Hockenheim, where we will be seeking a repeat of the magnificent top-six clean sweep we achieved last season."