RÃ„IKKÃ–NEN AND MICHELIN MAKE HISTORY IN TURKEY Kimi RÃ¤ikkÃ¶nen (Team McLaren Mercedes/Michelin) has entered the record books as the first man to win a Formula One grand prix in Turkey. The Finn was initially beaten away from pole position by...
RÄIKKÖNEN AND MICHELIN MAKE HISTORY IN TURKEY
Kimi Räikkönen (Team McLaren Mercedes/Michelin) has entered the record books as the first man to win a Formula One grand prix in Turkey. The Finn was initially beaten away from pole position by Giancarlo Fisichella (Renault/Michelin), but he recovered first place before the lap was over and went on to score a dominant victory.
For much of the afternoon it looked as though Räikkönen would spearhead a McLaren 1-2. His team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya swept past the Renaults of world championship leader Fernando Alonso and Fisichella - who had swapped places on lap two - after the first round of refuelling stops.
The Colombian ran a safe second until three laps from the end, when backmarker Tiago Monteiro (Jordan-Toyota) ran into him and caused him to spin. Montoya rejoined just ahead of Alonso, but he then ran wide as a result of a damaged diffuser and the Spaniard snatched second place, 18.6s behind the winner.
"From my point of view, I knew the McLarens were faster so I concentrated on doing a race with no mistakes, and driving consistently: the car was reliable again, and I had some luck with Montoya's problems as well," said Alonso.
Fisichella took fourth after holding off a late challenge from Jenson Button (B*A*R - Honda/Michelin), who made good progress through the field after a qualifying error left him 13th on the grid.
Michelin drivers took a clean sweep of the top nine positions, with Jarno Trulli (Toyota) taking sixth ahead of Red Bull team-mates David Coulthard and Christian Klien, who capitalised on good starts, and Takuma Sato (B*A*R-Honda).
Condemned to the back of the grid for impeding rival Mark Webber (BMW WilliamsF1 Team/Michelin) during qualifying, the Japanese driver started from the pits after pausing for a pre-race fuel top-up. He made strong progress, however, and set some impressive lap times during the race's closing stages.
Jacques Villeneuve (Sauber-Petronas) also started well down after spinning off during qualifying. The former world champion finished as best of the remaining Michelin runners, in 11th place. Ralf Schumacher (Toyota) came in 12th after being forced wide at the first corner and dropping to the tail of the field.
Villeneuve's team-mate Felipe Massa pitted for a new front wing at the end of the opening lap, after being involved in the same incident that delayed Schumacher. He was eventually forced to retire when his engine began to lose power.
Williams team-mates Webber and Nick Heidfeld both withdrew after suffering a succession of incidents on right-rear tyres. No other Michelin team was affected and technicians from both companies will be analysing data to determine the cause.
Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director:
"That was an absolutely magnificent performance by Kimi Räikkönen - the sight of him running side by side with the Renaults on the opening lap is one that will live with me for a very long time."
"From Michelin's perspective, everything has run absolutely according to plan from the start of the weekend to the moment the chequered flag dropped. This morning's rain shower - accurately predicted by our meteorological observers - cleaned up the track a little bit, but it didn't have any significant effect."
"Wear rates were perhaps a little bit higher than yesterday, but it was nothing to cause us any worries. This victory - our 88th in F1 - was the crowning moment of yet another successful grand prix weekend."
Nick Shorrock, Director of Michelin F1 activities:
"During the course of the race we had an incident with the right -rear tyres on both BMW WilliamsF1 Team cars and we are going to analyse fully the cause of these incidents in conjunction with BMW WilliamsF1 Team."
"We are obviously going to check with all of our other partners but to date this is a problem that we have seen only on the BMW WilliamsF1 Team cars. We are obviously very disappointed for BMW WilliamsF1 Team here at the inaugural Turkish Grand Prix."
Martin Whitmarsh, CEO Formula One, Team McLaren Mercedes:
"It's always pleasing to win and we had two cars on the podium, although it would obviously have been nice to obtain a 1-2. This circuit gave the tyre manufacturers a very difficult job, because it is extremely demanding with many challenging corners. It required a great deal of preparation work. I'd like to thank Michelin for doing a great job, because they gave us tyres that were consistent and extremely competitive."