ALONSO SECURES ANOTHER BUDAPEST PODIUM Michael Schumacher's 12th victory of 2004 - a new seasonal record in grand prix racing - helped Ferrari to cement its 14th success in the world championship for constructors. The German led all the way from...
ALONSO SECURES ANOTHER BUDAPEST PODIUM
Michael Schumacher's 12th victory of 2004 - a new seasonal record in grand prix racing - helped Ferrari to cement its 14th success in the world championship for constructors. The German led all the way from pole position in Budapest and was comfortably clear of team-mate Rubens Barrichello after 70 laps on one of F1's most demanding tracks. It was Schumacher's 82nd grand prix triumph. Spaniard Fernando Alonso (Renault) spearheaded the Michelin challenge.
Fernando sprinted through from fifth on the grid, secured third place by the first corner and stayed there for the balance of the afternoon. He finished comfortably clear of a phalanx of his Michelin rivals in a race notable for an almost complete absence of positional changes after the first corner. "The start was a bit close when Sato tried to block me and I had to brake a little, which might have cost me second position at the first corner. I am quite pleased to score my second podium in a row, and it was good to finish ahead of our main rivals."
Juan Pablo Montoya (BMW WilliamsF1 Team/Michelin) gained three places in the dash to Turn One and consolidated fourth for the rest of the afternoon. Jenson Button (B*A*R-Honda/Michelin) got away slowly from the dirtier side of the second row and was destined to spend the race behind Montoya. His team-mate Takuma Sato made an even worse start from third on the grid, however, and slumped to eighth by the end of the opening lap. The Japanese driver recovered a couple of places before the end and trailed Button over the line.
Antonio Pizzonia (BMW WilliamsF1 Team) was the fifth Michelin driver to score points. He recovered from a disappointing start to finish seventh and maintain his 100 per cent points-scoring record since standing in for the injured Ralf Schumacher.
David Coulthard (Team McLaren Mercedes/Michelin) put in a late-race charge to wrest the final point, but Giancarlo Fisichella (Sauber) remained just out of reach in eighth place. Coulthard's team-mate Kimi Räikkönen and Jarno Trulli (Renault/Michelin) ran in points-scoring positions early on, but technical problems forced both drivers out.
Mark Webber (Jaguar/Michelin) survived a spin to complete the top 10, while fellow Michelin runners Olivier Panis (Toyota) and Christian Klien (Jaguar) were 11th and 13th respectively. Brazilian Ricardo Zonta (Toyota) failed to finish on his return to the F1 frontline. Standing in for the dropped Cristiano da Matta, he recovered from a first-corner spin but dropped out with a technical problem immediately after his second scheduled stop.
Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director:
"Contrary to expectations, the race did not throw up any tactical surprises - but Fernando Alonso put up a spirited performance, just as he did when winning here last season. Given our dominant performance in 2003's corresponding fixture, this result obviously comes as something of a disappointment. But our main rival did not repeat any of the mistakes it made last season and Ferrari was able to maintain its run of form. The initial lap times analysis show that our two dry-weather compounds performed consistently."