BATTLE FOR SECOND HOTS UP Ferrari driver Rubens Barrichello won the Hungarian Grand Prix and the third win of his Formula One career was never in doubt. His team-mate Michael Schumacher, already crowned as this year's champion, was happy to sit...
BATTLE FOR SECOND HOTS UP
Ferrari driver Rubens Barrichello won the Hungarian Grand Prix and the third win of his Formula One career was never in doubt. His team-mate Michael Schumacher, already crowned as this year's champion, was happy to sit on Barrichello's tail throughout the 77 laps and eventually crossed the line 0.4 seconds in arrears.
Ralf Schumacher (BMW WilliamsF1 Team) was Michelin's best driver on the day. He held third from the start and now shares third place in the overall standings with team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya, who slipped back to finish 11th after an incident-packed race.
"We didn't expect to be third here. We can be satisfied as we were the only team to keep a reasonable distance behind the Ferraris. Also our tyre seemed to get better and better throughout the race which helped." said Ralf.
The result lifts Barrichello from fourth to second in the world championship -- five points clear of his nearest challengers with four races still to go. The result denied Schumacher the chance to become the first man to win 10 races in a championship season
Juan-Pablo lost several places on the opening lap and was running seventh when he careered of the circuit on lap 21 and damaged his front wing. This caused him to run off again next time around and he then had to pit earlier than scheduled to have his car repaired.
Michelin-shod McLaren-Mercedes drivers Kimi Räikkönen and David Coulthard started 11th and 10th respectively, but made full use of their team's efficient, long-stint strategy to come home fourth and fifth, ahead of Giancarlo Fisichella's Jordan. Jarno Trulli (Renault/Michelin) started sixth, but the Italian was swamped by his rivals in the opening seconds of the race and slipped to ninth, although he had recovered one position by the end of the afternoon.
Behind Montoya, Mika Salo (Toyota, 13th) was best of the remaining Michelin runners after a close battle with Pedro de la Rosa (Jaguar, 14th). The two cars spent much of the race running nose to tail and were only 0.4s apart at the end. Allan McNish (Toyota) was 15th and Mark Webber (KL Minardi-Asiatech) 16th. Webber ran strongly in the opening stages and was ahead of eventual 12th-placed finisher Olivier Panis (BAR-Honda) prior to the first round of scheduled stops, but he then overshot his pit and lost several seconds.
The other three Michelin drivers failed to finish. Anthony Davidson (KL Minardi-Asiatech) acquitted himself respectably on his F1 debut until spinning off with 19 laps to go. Jenson Button (Renault) was running sixth after a strong start, but he spun into retirement while under pressure from Räikkönen. Eddie Irvine (Jaguar) pulled off with a technical problem on lap 25.
Michelin's day: Pierre Dupasquier, motorsport director
What did you make of today's race?
"There's not a great deal to say, really. We have seen many weekends of this kind this year and the only real new development was the increased pace of the Jordan-Hondas, which look as though they might be more of a threat in future races. From Michelin's standpoint Ralf Schumacher drove a very solid race for Williams-BMW. He made a cracking start and came close to passing his brother at the first turn. It wasn't to be, but he paced himself beautifully and our tyres lasted very well. People have been asking me why the McLarens struggled in qualifying but were very competitive in the race. We need to analyse the reasons for that. If they had started at the front, today's result might have been very different."
With the benefit of hindsight, were you too conservative with your tyre compounds this weekend?
"We could have been more aggressive, but I think we would only have gained a couple of tenths per lap, certainly not half a second. And I don't think that would have been enough to affect the overall outcome of the race."
Sometimes we see Williams running strongly throughout a weekend, at other times McLaren does likewise. We have yet to see both of them being consistently competitive at the same time. How can you solve that?
"With a lot of hard work -- but I think we are working in the right direction."
Have you thought much about the forthcoming race in Spa?
"Not yet. We need to catch our breath after this weekend and reflect on the lessons we have learned in Hungary."
A number of racing incidents eliminated several of your cars, but you don't seem too disappointed by today's result ...
"I'm not. As I said, we could have been a little bit faster, but perhaps not sufficiently so to have challenged for victory. In addition, if you look at how we performed at this track last year and compare it to today's result, you will see that we have made a great deal of progress this weekend."