INDIANAPOLIS, Sunday, June 20, 2004 â€“ Michael Schumacher has now won three of the five United States Grands Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. These victories are special because of the history of The Brickyard, Schumacher ...
INDIANAPOLIS, Sunday, June 20, 2004 – Michael Schumacher has now won three of the five United States Grands Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. These victories are special because of the history of The Brickyard, Schumacher said.
“Obviously, I’m proud to win any Grand Prix, in all honesty,” he said after winning for third time. “To win Indy is, in a way, special because Indy has a lot of reputation and history, although we do not race the Indy (500) circuit fully.”
Schumacher, his Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello, who finished second, and Lucky Strike BAR-Honda driver Takuma Sato, who finished third, got a rousing reception from many thousands of fans who cheered wildly during the post-race podium celebrations.
“Being in front of the crowd which cheered (for) us … it’s great,” Schumacher said.
First points: By finishing eighth, Zsolt Baumgartner earned the first point of his F1 career. It was the first time that a Hungarian has scored points in a World Championship Grand Prix, and it was also the first point for the Minardi team since Mark Webber finished fifth in the 2002 Australian Grand Prix.
“We are really happy,” Baumgartner said. “It was a tough race for me. At the beginning, I was next to my teammate in the first corner. I touched the Jordan on the back. It was a little tap with the nose. Gimmi Bruni touched the Jordan, and they went away. I went between them.
“I drove a very consistent race. The big thing (at the end to hold onto eighth) was very much pressure.
“It is my first point. It is a great thing. That was my goal. It was a miracle what happened today. I am very happy for the point for the team and for me.”
Points streaks: Ferrari’s Rubens Barrichello is the only driver to have finished in the top eight points-paying positions in all nine races this season.
By failing to finish in Indianapolis, Jenson Button didn’t end up in the points for the first time this year. Button, Michael Schumacher and Jarno Trulli have all been in the points eight out of nine races in 2004.
Big brother coach: Formula BMW USA driver Federico Montoya got some help from somebody who really knows what he is doing: his older brother Juan Pablo Montoya.
The younger Montoya battled for the lead in the June 19 Formula BMW USA race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway before dropping back to seventh when his brake pedal broke. He was far more competitive here in Indianapolis than he has been in some of the European rounds of the series after his older brother showed him how to set up the chassis for ideal handling.
“In the Canadian race, it was a bit of a disaster,” Juan Pablo said, “so I stepped up and said, ‘You got do this, do that, do this.’ I made Federico do some corner by corner (analyses), all the things, to try to get more information out of him, more feedback to improve the car and make him realize if the car is better, he is just going to go quicker because the car is going to allow you to go quicker. We did that, and he was on the pace straightaway.”
Federico Montoya finished seventh in the June 20 Formula BMW USA race at Indianapolis.
Panis celebrates 150th race: The United States Grand Prix was the 150th F1 start for Panasonic Toyota Racing’s Olivier Panis. He finished a season-best fifth place.
“It was a good present for my 150th race,” he said, “but now we need to work toward celebrating the 200th race.
“I really enjoy it (racing at Indianapolis). It is not an easy track to find a compromise between mechanical grip and aerodynamic downforce. I really enjoy racing here because all the American people look like they enjoy F1 well, and I am pleased with that.”
Cheering fans: As usual, there was a large contingent of Colombian fans at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway cheering for 2000 Indianapolis 500 winner and Williams-BMW driver Juan Pablo Montoya. They filled an entire section of the grandstand opposite the Williams pit garage, cheered wildly and waved flags and yelled every time Montoya made an appearance.
“The Colombians are out of control like always!” Montoya said with affection. “It is good to see that.”
The fans’ race day ended in disappointment when Montoya was disqualified for switching to the spare car within 15 seconds of the start of the race.
Kicking with both feet: USGP pole sitter Rubens Barrichello said one of the reasons he’s getting more competitive with teammate Michael Schumacher is because he now can brake with either foot.
It is just like a soccer player who can control the ball with either foot, Barrichello said.
“I’ve been driving a little bit (with) my left foot more since the beginning of the season,” he said. “But I’m naturally a right-footer, so obviously I’m kicking with both feet right now, and the driver who kicks with both can do it better. I’m doing it with both.
“I have just got better as the season progressed.”