Ferrari detail. Ferrari Owners' Club
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Ferrari Happenings

GRAND PRIX: Montreal: Michael on 999
by Henk J Brouwer

18.6.03

The Air Canada Grand Prix took place on the Circuit Villeneuve situated on the Isle de Notre Dame in Montreal in the World Expo Park. It started nearly like a “Water Ballet”, very wet on Friday’s qualification, with Barrichello and Schumacher in their Ferraris in first and second position, both on Michelins. Fortunately there was the qualifying of Saturday with more realistic times, which differed approx. 15 seconds from the times the fastest drivers drove on Friday. In fact both days didn’t give us many sensational things to see, except perhaps some spinning and lots of spray behind the cars.

In the second qualifying on Saturday with a 'green' track, Raikkonen slipped to the outside in the first corner - probably due to cold brakes - and touched the dirt behind the curbs with his right rear-wheel and kissed the barrier. His rear-wing hanging loose, he parked up, crossed the track and went to the “parc fermé”, in conformity with the new rules of the FIA, for the regulation weighing. It was at that time pretty obvious that - with this howler - he lost his lead in the World Championship.

Ralf Schumacher drove the best time, followed by his team-mate Montoya and his brother Michael . Barrichello, locking wheels, ended up 5th just behind Alonso (Renault) who had a very good run. Remarkable perhaps was the fact that in 2002 Montoya qualified on pole position with 1:12.8 and Ralf this year with 1:15.5…

The start on Sunday showed us that the drivers were given clear team orders because all of them took the first corner very sensibly. Montoya and Ralf (pole) both had a very good starts, followed by Schumacher who just overtook the Renault of Alonso. Barrichello lightly touched the Renault of Alonso. The touch perhaps was due to a little frustration, because he had not made a good start. It cost him a stop of 15 sec’s and in the end perhaps a place on the podium. While Barrichello came in Montoya played spinning-top. It cost him probably the victory but it could have been worse. If it happened 3 meters ahead he would have hit the wall!

On lap 5 Trulli lost the tread of his tire and had to make his first pit stop. Two laps after that Heinz-Harald Frentzen stood beside the track and one wondered if this isn’t the last season for him in Formula 1....

From the first lap there was a lot of racing going on. Four laps after his stop Trulli is spinning and Montoya overtakes Alonso. Lap after lap Michael Schumacher followed his brother at approx. 0,5 sec’s, behind him Montoya at 1.2 sec’s setting the highest speed at 345 km/h. With a beautiful overtaking manoeuvre Coulthard overtakes Christian da Matta and took 7th place. In the meantime Jos Verstappen (Minardi) is making the first regular pit stop. All tires are changed and with a time of 11 seconds it meant that he took lots of fuel.

In lap 13 Wilson is the second “pit stopper”, while Jacques Villeneuve has problems with brake discs. Because Canada is a very fast circuit one should adjust the brake balance in a ration of 40/60 with the balance more to the rear. Because of a brake fluid leak the mechanics needed to put out a little fire, but they couldn't fix anything, resulting two laps later in Villeneuve’s retirement.

The top three were making their pit stops, starting with Montoya during lap 18 from 3rd place, in 9.6 sec’s. Ralf made his stop in lap 20 in 8,8 sec’s. The front tires were not changed and he returned just after Alonso on 3rd place. Michael had a pit stop in 10,6 sec’s and returned just before his brother Ralf on the track with Alonso on first position for the time being, because he still had to make his stop.

As I said before, there wasn’t much of excitement, although there was enough competition going on but this didn’t result in spectacular driving and overtakings. On lap 30 Michael set the top speed at 348 km/h and that, of course, is rather spectacular… Three laps later Raikkonen lost the tread of his right-rear Michelin tyre - just like Trulli. It cost him 5 places and returned just before Button on the track. By that time Michael was in first position, followed by his brother Ralf and Montoya in third.

At this point we can make a jump to lap 40 in which Barrichello makes his second pit stop for Ferrari. During his pit stop one could see the bargeboard hanging loose and it wasn’t fixed. A lap later it was launched like a catapult and bounced off the the crash barriers. At that time many cameras became hot taking shots of the left side of the Ferrari being “unprotected”. One could see the beautiful slanting left side, near the side pods. Then it was Montoya turn: he drove with a broken wing mirror…

On lap 45 Ralf Schumacher made his second pit stop and on lap 47 his brother Michael got four new tires. He returned just ahead of Ralf but behind Alonso. Next, Coulthard stopped with gearbox problems and a few moments later Ralf is suddenly driving with a fluttering wing mirror, while Alonso had extended his lead to nearly 9 seconds. On lap 54 Alonso had his second pit stop and returned on the track in 4th position, after Michael in first followed by Ralf and Montoya.

In the last laps of this GP the leaders were fighting with grim determination and it’s nice to watch the “French-tastic” image of the unchained Alonso in his efforts to catch Montoya but it all led to nothing. Michael Schumacher took the deserved honours for the Canadian GP, giving him his fourth victory of the season. This victory puts him at the top of the driver’s championship ahead of its previous leader Kimi Raikkonen with 54 versus 51 points.

Why 999? That's the number of points Michael has now scored in his F1 career

Jean Todt:
It was an incredible race! Michael delivered a perfect performance despite suffering with brake problems for much of the race. Rubens also did a good job. When he pitted on lap 2 to change the nose, damaged in a collision with Alonso, we changed his strategy, allowing him to bring home valuable points in the race for the Constructors’ Championship. Today’s was the sixtieth win since I joined Ferrari and probably one of our most hard won victories. . We have reached the halfway point of the season, leading both championships. We can expect the second half to be very tough because the opposition is very strong. We think we have all the elements in place to reach the targets we set ourselves at the start of the year.

Michael Schumacher :
This was the ideal result at the end of a very tough and tight race. I had to be careful to look after the brakes so I did not push too hard at first, just maintaining my pace after a very good start. I was able to stay close to Ralf and only really pushed hard in the period around the pit stops. There was a time when I thought I was going to pass Ralf, but then his tyres seemed to improve and I could not get by. But the mechanics did a great job in the pit stop to put me in the lead. Of course, it is important to be leading the championship in what I have always said will be a hard season with a tough fight to the end. As for having 999 points, in Germany that number means you have to buy everyone a drink, so we will see what happens tonight!.

Rubens Barrichello :
My race was conditioned by what happened at the start. We were all very close and, with Webber on the outside of me, I touched Alonso under braking and damaged the front wing. As I had to stop to change it, we changed the strategy. Then, during the race, I had problems with the brakes and also the gearbox electronics. On top of that, after I lost the left turning vane the car was no longer perfectly balanced. Despite all that, I was able to control Raikkonen when he closed up, thus managing to finish fifth. All in all, I can be happy with the final result as I was fifth on the grid, but virtually last after two laps.

RACE RESULTS - CANADIAN GP
70 Laps. Weather : overcast


Classified:
Pos Driver Team  
Time
1.
M. Schumacher Ferrari (B)
1h31:13.591
2.
R. Schumacher Williams (M)
+ 0:00.784
3.
Montoya Williams (M)
+ 0:01.355
4.
Alonso Renault (M)
+ 0:04.481
5.
Barrichello Ferrari (B)
+ 1:04.261
6.
Raikkonen McLaren (M)
+ 1:10.502
7.
Webber Jaguar (M)
+ 1 Lap
8.
Panis Toyota (M)
+ 1 Lap
9.
Verstappen Minardi (B)
+ 2 Laps

World Championship Standing, Round 8:
Drivers:   Constructors:
1.
M. Schumacher
54
 
1.
Ferrari
85
2.
Raikkonen
51
 
2.
McLaren
76
3.
Alonso
34
 
3.
Williams
64
4.
R. Schumacher
33
 
4.
Renault
47
5.
Montoya
31
 
5.
BAR
11
5.=
Barrichello
31
 
5.=
Jordan
11
7.
Coulthard
25
 
7.
Sauber
8
8. Trulli
13
  8. Jaguar
6
9. Fisichella
10
  9. Toyota
4
10. Button
8
       
11. Frentzen
7
       
12. Webber
6
       
13.= da Matta
3
       
13.= Villeneuve
3
       
15.= Firman
1
       
15.= Panis
1
       
15.= Heidfeld
1
       

 

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