US GP: Minardi race notes

INDIANAPOLIS, USA, June 20, 2004 - There were podium-magnitude celebrations in the Wilux Minardi Cosworth garage at the end of today's United States Grand Prix as the Faenza squad's Zsolt Baumgartner scored the team's first point in 41 races. In...

INDIANAPOLIS, USA, June 20, 2004 - There were podium-magnitude celebrations in the Wilux Minardi Cosworth garage at the end of today's United States Grand Prix as the Faenza squad's Zsolt Baumgartner scored the team's first point in 41 races. In doing so, the Budapest-based driver assured himself of a place in motor racing history, as he became the first Hungarian Formula One driver to score a World Championship point. Both Baumgartner and team mate, Gianmaria Bruni, made good starts, but unfortunately, Bruni's race was over at the second corner when a collision involving the Jordan of Giorgio Pantano slightly bent the right front suspension of his car. Baumgartner made an early pit stop on lap nine, during the Safety Car period occasioned by Ralph Schumacher's heavy accident, and followed this up with two further, perfectly executed stops for fuel and tyres as he pounded home to the chequered flag and a well-deserved eighth-place finish.

Zsolt Baumgartner, Position: 8th

"It's a great feeling to score a point - it's like a miracle happened today! On the first lap, I tapped the back of one of the Jordans when it braked hard to avoid an accident at Turn 2. Fortunately, there wasn't any serious damage and I was able to carry on. After that, the race settled down and I was able to set very consistent lap times, which were not so far off my qualifying time, so I was really pleased with that. There was some big pressure in those last few laps when I knew we were close to getting a point, and then I saw the Sauber slow and Paul came on the radio and told me I was in the points. We were close in Monaco, and now we've scored here, so I couldn't be happier. It's also great for the whole team, as everyone has been working so hard all season and deserves this result."

Gianmaria Bruni, Position: DNF

"I'm obviously really disappointed that my race ended so early, but I had a good start and then, in the second corner, one of the Jordans braked hard and chopped across me, hitting my right-front wheel with his left rear. The impact bent the front suspension of my car, and that was my race finished. I'm annoyed not to have had the chance to race here in the United States, but also upset for the guys, who again put in a lot of effort this weekend."

Paul Stoddart, Team Principal, Wilux Minardi Cosworth

"What a fantastic ending to an action-packed United States Grand Prix! Firstly, our thoughts are with Ralph after his heavy accident, although we understand from first reports that he's okay. That aside, this race had everything, and when a team like Minardi that struggles so hard against the odds scores a point, it is an occasion for great celebration. As for Zsolt, what can I say? He has driven with tremendous maturity all weekend and his pace has been strong and consistent. Today's result was just reward for a gritty performance because, as we all know, to finish first, first you have to finish. As the first Hungarian Formula One driver to score a World Championship point, he will go down in history, and it couldn't happen to a nicer guy. To all the people on the team who work week in and week out for so little reward, I can only say 'well done'!"

Chassis allocation:
Bruni (No 20) PS04B/02
Baumgartner (No 21) PS04B/01
Spare car (Bruni) PS04B/03

-minardi-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Gianmaria Bruni , Giorgio Pantano , Paul Stoddart , Zsolt Baumgartner
Teams Sauber , Minardi , Jordan