Coulthard and Michelin score memorable Monaco victory David Coulthard gave Michelin its second win of the Formula One season - and McLaren its first - when he led all the way to win the 60th Monaco Grand Prix. It was the 12th F1 win of the...
Coulthard and Michelin score memorable Monaco victory
David Coulthard gave Michelin its second win of the Formula One season - and McLaren its first - when he led all the way to win the 60th Monaco Grand Prix. It was the 12th F1 win of the Scot's career and his second in Monaco. He had to stave off a serious challenge from world championship leader Michael Schumacher and was just one second ahead the end. Ralf Schumacher (BMW WilliamsF1 Team-Michelin) finished trird.
Although Schumacher was beaten for only the second time this season, he stretched his world championship advantage to 33 points because closest rival Juan Pablo Montoya (BMW WilliamsF1 Team/Michelin) retired with a blown engine on the 47th lap. The Colombian, who qualified on pole position, had been running second ahead of Schumacher from the start. It was his first retirement of the season.
Two of the remaining Michelin drivers scored points: Montoya's team-mate Ralf Schumacher finished third and Jarno Trulli (Renault/Michelin) was fourth after holding off a late challenge from Giancarlo Fisichella (Jordan-Honda). Of the rest, the Jaguars of Eddie Irvine and Pedro de la Rosa were ninth and 10th at the end of a difficult weekend and Mark Webber (KL Minardi-Asiatech) was 11th.
Unusually for Monaco it took 16 laps for any driver to fall foul of the unforgiving barriers. Running a strong ninth place in his first race in the principality, Scot Allan McNish (PanasonicToyota Racing/Michelin) had the unwanted honour of posting the first retirement when he crashed at Ste Devote.
Of the other Michelin runners, Alex Yoong (KL Minardi-Asiatech) retired. after crashing at Massanet. Kimi Räikkönen (West McLaren-Mercedes) was running sixth when Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari) rammed him at the chicane and damaged both cars. Räikkönen rejoined after pitting for repairs, but withdrew after just one more lap. Jenson Button (Renault F1) dropped to the tail of the field after being penalised for jumping the start. He had recovered several places when he collided with BAR-Honda driver Olivier Panis at Devote on the 54th lap. Both drivers were forced to retire Mika Salo (Panasonic Toyota Racing-Michelin) was running eighth when he crashed at Massenet with just a handful of laps remaining
Jordan-Honda driver Takuma Sato escaped uninjured from his second major accident in as many races. He crashed in the tunnel - the fastest part of the track, where cars reach speeds of about 180mph. Sauber driver Felipe Massa (Sauber) also walked away unhurt after hitting the tyre wall head-on at Ste Devote.
Michelin's day Pierre Dupasquier (Motorsport Director)
David Coulthard has just given Michelin its second victory of the season. How do you feel?
"Very pleased. This has been a good weekend for us and David did a good job in very difficult circumstances, because this is a tough track and it is always difficult to beat Michael Schumacher. But he did it. What's more, Ralf Schumacher came third for Williams-BMW, Jarno Trulli scored a strong points finish for Renault and Juan Pablo Montoya was running second until he had an engine problem. I think we can say that the tyre we produced especially for Monaco was very effective."
Ralf had to make a second pit stop because of a problem with his left rear tyre. What happened?
"These tyres were very new. We only tested them for the first time last week and they had not run in racing conditions before. The compound is quite soft so the wear rate was quite high and it also proved to be susceptible to cuts if it picked up debris, and there were quite a lot of those around today because of several accidents. Basically his tyre was cut and a part of the tread became detached, but that didn't pose any safety hazard."
This is your first win since Malaysia. Do you see it as a turning point?
"Not really. We designed a tyre specifically for Monaco and it proved to be very effective, but we will need something entirely different for the next race in Montreal - and something different again for the one after that at the Nürburgring. We still haven't finalised out choice for Canada. That circuit isn't terribly abrasive but it places a strain on tyres because of the fierce braking, frequent hard acceleration and high cornering loads. It's a difficult race for tyre manufacturers and this weekend's result will have no bearing on what happens there."
How would you summarise the Monaco weekend?
"There are several reasons to be upbeat. Not only did we beat Ferrari with a new tyre that performed really well, but we also picked up a lot of valuable data that will serve us well in the future. It's nice to stop Michael Schumacher winning, although I'm not sure that it's possible to keep him off the podium altogether!"
David Coulthard drove brilliantly to score his first win for more than a year. Do you have a special message for him?
"He and his team did a fantastic job all weekend. I'd like to thank him, McLaren and Mercedes for their efforts and congratulate all of them on a job well done. We were delighted to play a part in that."