Schumacher and Montoya score home one-two for BMW; engine failure halts RÃ¤ikkÃ¶nen's victory charge Ralf Schumacher (BMW WilliamsF1 Team) scored Michelin's fourth grand prix victory of the season -- and his first since Malaysia 2002 -- with a...
Schumacher and Montoya score home one-two for BMW; engine failure halts Räikkönen's victory charge
Ralf Schumacher (BMW WilliamsF1 Team) scored Michelin's fourth grand prix victory of the season -- and his first since Malaysia 2002 -- with a controlled drive in the Grand Prix of Europe. He headed team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya by almost 20 seconds as Will iams scored its first one-two of the campaign.
This was always going to be a Michelin victory -- but it might have been a different story had McLaren-Mercedes star Kimi Räikkönen not suffered a dramatic engine failure. Starting from pole position, the Finn set a searing pace and never looked remotely t hreatened at the head of the field. A trail of oil smoke on lap 26 signalled the end of his challenge, however, and denied him a chance to reclaim his world championship lead.
Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari) took third ahead of Fernando Alonso (Renault/Michelin). Alonso was involved in a fierce battle for fourth with David Coulthard (McLaren-Mercedes/Michelin), but this ended just three laps from the end when the Scot spun off. Wor ld championship leader Michael Schumacher finished fifth. The German ran as high as second but dropped down the order after spinning during a duel with Montoya.
Of the other Michelin finishers, Mark Webber (Jaguar) took sixth -- his best result of the season to date -- and his team-mate Antonio Pizzonia was 10th. The Brazilian lost time when he picked up a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pits.
The other Michelin drivers failed to finish. Jarno Trulli (Renault) was running fifth when he was forced to pull off with a technical problem on lap 38. Olivier Panis (Toyota) ran as high as eighth in the early stages but lost time with a spin and later sp un off for good shortly after making his second scheduled refuelling stop. His team-mate Cristiano da Matta was running 12th when his engine failed with five laps to go.
Pierre Dupasquier -- Michelin Motorsport Director
MICHELIN DOMINATES FROM START TO FINISH
Michelin scored its 69th Formula One world championship victory in today's Grand Prix of Europe at the Nürburgring. Having set the pace throughout the first two days of the meeting, when Kimi Räikkönen and McLaren-Mercedes were the combination to beat, Mic helin confirmed its performance advantage during the race. Räikkönen dominated the event until his engine failed just before half-distance. Following his retirement, BMW WilliamsF1 Team drivers Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya took up the running and went on to give the British team its first one-two since Malaysia 2002. Fernando Alonso (Renault, fourth) and Mark Webber (Jaguar, sixth) also finished in the top six for Michelin, while David Coulthard (McLaren-Mercedes), Jarno Trulli (Renault) and Olivi er Panis (Toyota) all challenged for points finishes before being forced to drop out.
PERFORMANCE THAT SPEAKS FOR ITSELF
Ralf Schumacher's victory at the Nürburgring came 24 hours after Sete Gibernau (Honda) gave Michelin its 300th victory in motorcycle grand prix racing's premier class. The company also scored a spectacular victory with Ferrari in today's FIA GT Championshi p event at Donington Park. It has been another hugely successful weekend for the Clermont-Ferrand company and motorsport director Pierre Dupasquier said: "I think our performance on track spoke for itself today and I'm not sure there's a great deal I can a dd. We knew after qualifying that our tyres were very effective -- but it's only in a racing situation that you get the full picture and the two tyre compounds we used today performed exactly as we hoped they would in terms of pace and durability. I think Michelin has shown a clear tyre-performance advantage in the last three grands prix, which indicates that our simulation and evaluation procedures are becoming ever more refined as we gain more F1 experience."
HOME SWEET HOME
Michelin has already chosen the tyre compounds it will use in its home race -- next weekend's French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours -- but Pierre Dupasquier insists it will be an event like any other for the Michelin F1 team. He said: "It is always nice to race at home, particularly for members of the company who only get one chance per year to see grand prix cars in action. As always, however, we will go about our business just as we would at any race. Magny-Cours is an interesting track -- and it is quite chal lenging by European standards because we don't get the chance to test there very often. On the evidence of recent results, however, I have every confidence that we will be extremely competitive."