MICHELIN AND ALONSO MAKE HISTORY Michelin goes from strength to strength with top-seven clean sweep Rising Renault star Fernando Alonso led all the way to score the first win of his fledgling grand prix career as Michelin and its partner teams...
MICHELIN AND ALONSO MAKE HISTORY
Michelin goes from strength to strength with top-seven clean sweep
Rising Renault star Fernando Alonso led all the way to score the first win of his fledgling grand prix career as Michelin and its partner teams dominated the Hungarian Grand Prix, 13th round of this season's world championship. It was the company's seventh success of the season: appropriately, Michelin drivers took a clean sweep of the top seven places. At 22 years and 26 days, Alonso is the youngest driver ever to win a world championship grand prix: he is also the first Spaniard to have done so. It was Renault's first success as a chassis manufacturer since Alain Prost won the 1983 Austrian GP.
Kimi Räikkönen (McLaren-Mercedes) and Juan Pablo Montoya (BMW WilliamsF1 Team) joined Alonso on the podium -- a result that has set up a fascinating finale to this year's world championship season. With series leader Schumacher trailing home only eighth, he is just one point clear of Montoya and two ahead of Räikkönen. The Colombian and team-mate Ralf Schumacher both made poor starts from the dusty side of the slippery Hungaroring circuit, but they went on to cross the line in third and fourth places -- even though they were both delayed by spins."I am very happy about the points I scored today, especially because Michael got just one. Our team is now leading the championship, this is great ! " said Juan Pablo.
David Coulthard (McLaren-Mercedes) was the only leading driver to opt for a two-stop strategy (everybody else refuelled three times) and he finished fifth, ahead of Mark Webber (Jaguar) and Jarno Trulli (Renault). Webber made a fantastic start from third on the grid and ran second until the first round of pit stops.
Of the remaining Michelin drivers, Cristiano da Matta (Toyota, 11th) started a lap later than his rivals having initially being stranded on the grid. After starting a career-best 12th for Jaguar, Justin Wilson ran solidly in midfield until a spectacular engine failure forced him to retire. Olivier Panis (Toyota) stopped with a technical problem when he tried to rejoin after making his second scheduled pit stop.
Michelin's day: Pierre Dupasquier -- Michelin Motorsport Director
MICHELIN'S MAGNIFICENT SEVEN
Michelin maintained its searing run of Formula One form in today's Hungarian Grand Prix. Fernando Alonso (Renault) spearheaded Michelin's clean sweep of the top seven places -- and in doing so set a number of F1 benchmarks. At 22 years and 26 days he is the youngest driver ever to have won a world championship grand prix -- and he is also the first Spaniard to have done so. Renault -- the third of Michelin's five partner teams to have won a race this season -- scored its first F1 victory as a chassis manufacturer since Austria 1983 and it was Michelin's 72nd grand prix success.
Kimi Räikkönen (McLaren-Mercedes), Juan Pablo Montoya (BMW WilliamsF1 Team), Ralf Schumacher (BMW WilliamsF1 Team), David Coulthard (McLaren-Mercedes), Mark Webber (Jaguar) and Jarno Trulli (Renault) followed Alonso over the line. The result has tightened the battle at the top of the world championship for drivers: Montoya and Räikkönen trail leader Michael Schumacher by one and two points respectively. Meanwhile, Michelin partner Williams-BMW has opened an eight-point advantage in the world championship for constructors.
SMELLS LIKE TEAM SPIRIT
Michelin motorsport director Pierre Dupasquier believes the stage is set for a fantastic finale to this year's world championship. He said: "The margin is so tight at the top of the table that it's almost as though we will be starting with a clean sheet of paper ahead of the final three grands prix. It's very satisfying to see Michelin's teams and drivers working their way into such strong positions. The success of our tyres is down to the combined efforts of all our partners. This has been a real team effort, both at the racetrack and in Clermont-Ferrand."
YOU WEAR IT WELL
Michelin teams dominated the Hungarian GP weekend. Pierre Dupasquier said: "We have set the pace from the start and today's result confirms that the past two days have been an accurate barometer of form. The heat and high number of corners at the Hungaroring makes this a testing grand prix, but we have had no concerns at all about tyre wear and all our cars were able to lap with great consistency."
A ZEST FOR INNOVATION
Michelin will be testing at Monza later this week as it prepares to take on arch-rival Ferrari in its home race, the Italian GP on September 14. Pierre Dupasquier said: "We have an excellent record at Monza: we won there in 2001 and set a new record average lap speed during qualifying for last year's race. I have every confidence that with our partners we will have competitive packages again this time. We have already brought in a number of successful innovations this season and we are poised to evaluate a few more."