MONTOYA, McLAREN AND MICHELIN ON TOP Juan Pablo Montoya (Team McLaren Mercedes/Michelin) scored his first victory of the campaign & ...
MONTOYA, McLAREN AND MICHELIN ON TOP
Juan Pablo Montoya (Team McLaren Mercedes/Michelin) scored his first victory of the campaign and the fifth of his Formula One career in todays British Grand Prix at Silverstone. The Colombian screamed away from third place on the grid to claim the lead before Becketts corner on the opening lap.
Thereafter, the Colombian fought tooth and nail with world championship leader Fernando Alonso (Renault/Michelin) and emerged fractionally ahead after each of their scheduled refuelling stops. He eventually finished 2.7s clear.
My move on the first lap was a bit of a risk, he said, because I knew we might go off if neither of us gave way. But hes fighting for the championship and I was only interested in winning the race, so I figured hed concede. I was right.
Alonsos arch-rival Kimi Räikkönen (Team McLaren Mercedes) recovered from 12th on the grid after a 10-position grid penalty for an unscheduled engine change to finish third, but he was grateful for a pit lane slip by Alonsos team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella.
The Italian had set a searing pace and appeared to be on course for a sure top-three finish, but he stalled after his second refuelling stop and allowed Räikkönen to take his place on the third step of the podium. The Finn now trails Alonso by 26 points in the title chase.
Fisichella (Renault) and local favourite Jenson Button (B*A*R-Honda) who received the days loudest cheer as he crossed the line completed a Michelin clean sweep of the top five.
Button started from the front row of the grid, but wasnt able to contain the McLarens and Renaults in the race. Ralf Schumacher (Toyota/Michelin) shadowed Ferrari drivers Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello across the line to take eighth place and claim the final point.
All 14 Michelin drivers completed the distance in hot, testing conditions. Jarno Trulli (Toyota) ran sixth in the early stages, but was unable to stay with the leaders and eventually came home ninth, ahead of Felipe Massa (Sauber-Petronas, 10th), Mark Webber (BMW WilliamsF1 Team, 11th), Nick Heidfeld (BMW WilliamsF1 Team, 12th), David Coulthard (Red Bull Racing, 13th), Jacques Villeneuve (Sauber-Petronas, 14th), Christian Klien (Red Bull Racing, 15th) and Takuma Sato (B*A*R-Honda, 16th).
Satos car cut out as he approached the grid and he joined the race a lap in arrears. The safety car had to be scrambled within seconds of Montoya taking the lead on the opening lap, so that the Japanese drivers car could safely be wheeled to the pits.
Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director:
"This has been another perfect weekend for us, just like Magny-Cours. There were no real surprises this afternoon and our partners' race pace underlined the performance advantage the Michelin teams have enjoyed all weekend."
"Silverstone is a challenging track at the best of times and today's high track temperatures made it even more gruelling, yet Kimi Räikkönen was able to set the fastest lap of the race right at the very end. There could be no finer testament to our tyres' durability and performance."
Nick Shorrock, director of Michelin F1 activities:
"I'd like to compliment Juan Pablo Montoya on his first victory for McLaren - and Fernando Alonso for making such a close race of it. Three Michelin teams monopolised the top five positions on two different types of tyre - and four of our partners scored points. Once again, we were able to capitalise on the full breadth and versatility of our F1 tyre range."
Martin Whitmarsh, CEO Formula One, Team McLaren Mercedes:
"This was a fantastic result for Juan Pablo Montoya and reflects a great effort by the team and all its partners. Juan Pablo did what he had to do to secure victory and Kimi Räikkönen got the most he could from the afternoon, given his starting position. We have had absolutely no tyre problems throughout the weekend. This has been a fantastic grand prix for McLaren and we look forward to building on this result at the next race."