JUNE 13, 2004
CANADIAN GP - SUNDAY - RACE NOTES
Michael Schumacher wins in Canada
Michael Schumacher won the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal today, his 77th career victory. He was following in second by his brother Ralf in his Williams-BMW and his Ferrari team mate Rubens Barrichello in third.
Schumacher's win was the first time any one driver has won a Grand Prix seven times.
Jarno Trulli, who started third, dropped out on the run to the first corner with a suspension failure.
At the exit of the second corner there was a coming together between Felipe Massa and Christian Klien, who bumped into his team mate Mark Webber, but they all managed to continue - although Webber retired after six laps with damage.
Ralf took the led from pole at the start, Jenson Button and Juan Pablo Montoya pitted first on lap 13, Ralf Schumacher on lap 15, and Fernando Alonso took the lead. He led until he pitted on lap 17 and had a long stop when the pit crew had trouble with the refueling equipment.
Michael Schumacher took over the lead on lap 18 and made his first stop on lap 19.
After the first round of stops, Ralf retook the lead followed by Button, Michael, Montoya, Barrichello, Alonso, Olivier Panis and Giancarlo Fisichella.
On Nick Heidfeld's first stop, the pit crew let him go before the refuelling was finished, and a crew member was knocked down as he tried to leave the pits.
The second round of pitstops started with Montoya on lap 30, Button on lap 31, Ralf on lap 33.
Michael then led with Barrichello hounding him closely. On lap 43, Takuma Sato attempted to pass Panis at the hairpin, and spun.
Barrichello pitted for the second time on lap 44, and at the same time Alonso retired while running third.
On lap 46 Michael pitted from the lead for his final stop and rejoined second. Ralf pitted from the lead on lap 47 and rejoined fourth behind Button and Montoya.
On lap 49 Button and Montoya made there final stops and rejoined in fourth and fifth, and Sato retired with an engine failure.
With 20 laps left in the race the order was Michael leading from Ralf, Barrichello, Button, Montoya, Raikkonen, Fisichella and da Matta.
With nine laps remaining Raikkonen pitted to change the McLaren's steering wheel and lost a position to Fisichella.
On lap 65 Felipe Massa went straight off at the hairpin with brake problems and hit the tire barriers.
At the line Jenson Button was fourth, Montoya was fifth, Fisichella was sixth, Raikkonen was seventh and Da Matta finished in the final points paying position.
Michael Schumacher (1st): "I don't know why I have won so often here - I guess its down to a good package and a bit of luck. Everything went to plan today. We thought it would be hard to get pole so we concentrated our strategy on the race. The pit stops were great and the car preparation was fantastic. We won today because of the consistency of our package and our race pace which was the fastest. There was not much pressure from Montoya, as I could have let him pass me as he was on a different strategy. But Rubens pushed me very hard and it would have been much more critical for me if he had got past. We had chosen different tyres and I was thinking he had made the best choice! Then my third set was a bit better. I had no problems with the car and at the end I slowed the pace to bring the car home."
Rubens Barrichello (3rd): "This was a great race and I had fun fighting Michael. He got a win for a Ferrari and that is what counts. I knew my only chance of winning was to pass him on the track or go longer before the pit stop, but I had a little less fuel than him. When I was pushing him very hard, I knew the brakes were getting hot as I could feel the pedal get spongy, but I had to keep pushing. But after the pit stop, when I had more fuel on board, the pedal began to get long and I realised the brakes were "cooked." I did not give up but then at the bumpy Turn 8, I could not stop and I lost about 5 seconds which is what cost me second place. But, at the end of the day, it was a very close fight, we had lots of fun and I enjoyed myself. People say I am happy to sit behind Michael, but today showed this is not the case."
Jean Todt, Team Principal: "This was an amazing race. We knew that with the strategy we had decided on prior to yesterday's qualifying, we could be in the running, even without starting from the front and we were proved right. For the team, it was battle from the first to the last lap. Both drivers drove a very strong race, helped by the Bridgestones that were fantastically consistent. As we predicted, reliability was another key factor. The team worked to its usual standard, striving for perfection. From a personal point of view, this was a special weekend, my first as Managing Director of Ferrari and the first at which my usual post race phone call was not only with Luca di Montezemolo as President of the company, but also in his role as President of the FIAT Group and the Confindustria. There is still a long way to go given that only after Indianapolis will we have passed the mid-point of the season and that we are up against strong and well organised opponents. We can be relied on, along with our technical partners, especially Bridgestone and Shell, to continue to give it our all and our motivation is very high. If possible, we will try to do even better."
Ross Brawn, Technical Director: "The cars proved to be very reliable and the Bridgestone tyres performed very well. Strategy was very important, but the drivers and the team did a fantastic job putting it into action. Michael and Rubens had to wait patiently in the first part of the race, when they were behind cars that had a potentially slower pace than they did. Once they had a clear track ahead of them, they both knew what to do and did it perfectly. The middle stint was very exciting as Michael and Rubens duelled, aware of the different fuel loads they had on board. It might have cost them a bit of time to their rivals, but isn't this what the crowd wanted to see? We now need to find out exactly what happened to Rubens after his second stop. We were hoping he could get second, but he went off track losing a few precious seconds."
Ralf Schumacher (2nd): "This result is better than we had expected before coming to Montreal, but still a bit disappointing after I started from pole. The way we performed this weekend is a clear sign that we have some chances to be at the front and this is very encouraging for the team. We took the best we could out of our package this weekend and my car was really strong thanks in no small part to Michelin who supported us here with great tyres. It will take us two or three races to really see the next step improvement."
Juan Pablo Montoya (5th): "Fifth place is really not what I hoped for. I must say the car was so good yesterday in qualifying, that I really deluded myself I could get more out of this race. In the first and second stints the rear of my car was sliding a bit and driving was difficult. Nevertheless, I managed to have a good pace and I could put some pressure on Michael for a few laps and towards the end of the race I was catching up with Jenson Button. It was good for me and for the team to be competitive again and I hope that this momentum is going to last next week at Indy too."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "It was a good day for our team and a welcome return to form. It was a close fight with all the teams. Both our drivers, Ralf and Juan drove good races and the team's strategy proved to be the right one for our cars. We pushed Ferrari for the win but they were just a bit too strong today. After having achieved pole position and strong race results on the challenging circuit of Montreal, we want to carry this momentum forward in to next week's race in Indianapolis."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "To see this increase in performance is important for everybody in the team. With several different strategies this was a very interesting race today and it brought us the best result so far this season. Ralf especially has shown excellent performance in qualifying and the race. This circuit is extremely hard on the engines and brakes, but both our cars ran without any problems. Together with yesterday's pole position here and the double-victory at the Nurburgring 24-hours race this is really a very special race weekend for BMW Motorsport."
Kimi Raikkonen (7th): "It was a difficult race, but I'm pleased to score some points. I was given a drive through penalty as I touched the white line at the pit lane exit, which overall wouldn't have cost me a position. However then an electrical problem developed, which meant we had to change the steering wheel during my third pit stop. It did happen again, so I went on the radio to the team saying I was coming into the pits, so they could change the steering wheel. This additional stop did cost us sixth place, but with five visits to the pits seventh is OK. At least we are going in the right direction, and it was just unlucky we had that problem."
David Coulthard (9th): "My actual start was good, but Turn Two is always difficult here and one of the Jaguars went into the back of my car and spun me around. This put me pretty much at the back of the field and I had a couple of lively laps where I gained a few positions. However, with a three-stop-strategy running at the back you will always struggle. It's a shame that I didn't really get a chance to run in clean air as I think we could have achieved a better result. However the positive is that both Kimi and I finished, which is important as we head to Indianapolis next week."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "Both our cars finished the race today, which is a step in the right direction. Kimi's car had an electrical fault, which was short-circuiting some of the steering wheel's electrical functions. This necessitated two changes; one which took place during Kimi's third scheduled stop and the other requiring an unscheduled stop. David's race was spoilt in the multi-car accident at the second corner, which effectively relegated him to the back from where he steadily drove through to ninth place. The important aspect is that both cars finished, and now we can continue to increase our efforts to become more competitive."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "Kimi and David did a good job. Kimi came into the pits two times more than originally planned because of a drive through penalty and a stop to change the steering wheel. This prevented him from finishing sixth. David put in a solid performance after he had been pushed into a spin after the start dropping to 16 th and eventually finishing ninth."
Fernando Alonso (DNF, Driveshaft): "The left driveshaft failed on the car - as I came down the straight I could feel the car pulling to one side, and I had to stop. The result is not good for the team in particular, but the car performed well during the first two stints of the race. The tyres were not quite as consistent as we had expected, but we were quick even so. I had a problem at the first stop when the fuel nozzle did not engage properly but even with that problem, we could have easily finished on the podium."
Jarno Trulli (DNF, Driveshaft): "My race was over as soon as it had started. I got a normal start, and then suddenly it felt like the rear suspension failed - perhaps because of a driveshaft failure. I pulled off straight away and that was it. Obviously, it's a big disappointment - Fernando showed today that we had the track position and the speed to win."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "It is a bitterly disappointing to suffer a double retirement after looking so good during practice, and having been confident of a podium finish. The indications we have so far are that both cars suffered similar transmission problems."
Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: "This is a bad weekend for us. It was encouraging to see the cars perform well at this circuit, and we had the speed to race competitively against Ferrari today. But as we have seen already this season, reliability is the key to success. We hope not to repeat this."
Jenson Button (4th): "Five points are very important but Iím obviously disappointed that Iím not on the podium here because thatís what we felt was achievable. I got a reasonably good start and managed to keep the Renaults behind me but I had oversteer all the way through the first stint. We changed the car at the first stop to give more understeer, which helped the balance slightly, but we couldnít make a big enough adjustment and we had low grip throughout the race. I bogged down at the second pitstop after the anti-stall kicked in as I released the clutch. Our pace was disappointing compared to the Ferraris and we certainly didnít expect to be behind a Williams today. I guess we just have to look at what went wrong and fix it for Indianapolis."
Takuma Sato (DNF, Engine): "We came to Montreal with high hopes but have come away with another disappointing result. We changed our plan this morning so that I would start from the pit lane on a two-stop strategy, which we thought was going to be strong. I had to back off on the pitlane exit because of the second corner incident and lost a lot of time there, however I was able to move up to 14th. I tried really hard to make up places but the car was so heavy on fuel and we just didnít have the pace so it was difficult. Towards the end of the race we were targeting a point but then another engine failure ended my race - something we have to get on top of for Indianapolis. We cannot change anything as such but we will have to work closely with the engineers."
David Richards, Team Principal: "Coming away from here with fourth place after yesterday's qualifying may be seen as disappointing, but the reality is that we just didn't have the pace on the day. It is fair to say that Jenson extracted the maximum possible performance from the car, so to generate five more points and close the gap to second place is satisfactory. Takuma continued to provide plenty of interest with his performance and he did look set for a possible points finish, which was a good effort from the pitlane. Lessons learnt this weekend will I'm sure stand us in good stead for Indianapolis which is, after all, only a week away."
Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director: "Having qualified well here we are disappointed with our race result but pleased to have scored points again and keep our 3rd place in the Championship. The car was difficult in race conditions with a lot of oversteer and rear wheel locking. A front wing adjustment at the first stop helped Jenson in his second stint and he was able to close on Ralf. However a slight problem leaving the box and difficulties passing traffic dropped him away from the front and he had a tough race keeping in front of Montoya to the finish."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Honda Engineering Director: "Not a good day for us today but it says a great deal about our season to date that we are unhappy even though Jenson finished fourth. For Takuma to lose another engine is very disappointing. We only have to wait one week to Indy where we will have the chance to fight back onto the podium."
Giancarlo Fisichella (6th): "I wasn't very quick getting off the line, but that was a blessing after Coulthard and Klien tangled right in front of me in Turn One. I just managed to avoid both of them. After that I just settled down and kept pushing hard. The car was a little inconsistent at various stages of the tyre wear, but five or six laps before each pit stop it was very good and I was able to drive as if I was in a qualifying session. The last stint was the best. Our strategy was great today, and it is very satisfying to score yet more points today."
Felipe Massa (DNF, Accident): "I was having a strong race, after catching and passing Sato, Glock, Klien and da Matta, but I lost a lot of time in my first pit stop because of a problem with the left rear wheel. Later I also had some trouble with the steering wheel. As for the accident, I have no idea what happened - I was just a passenger. I'm okay and fortunate that the car is strong, and only went to the hospital for a precautionary check-up on my left elbow."
Peter Sauber, Team Principal: "After a turbulent start in which we lost several places, and got trapped behind some slower cars, Giancarlo moved up smoothly in his usual manner to leave one competitor after another in his slipstream. Our sixth place once again brought us three deserved championship points. My congratulations to Giancarlo. Felipe fought with technical problems all weekend. I apologise for giving him a difficult car this weekend, and we are all relieved that he was unharmed after his accident in the closing stages. We are still investigating the cause."
Christian Klien (13th): "My start off the grid was fine and I very quickly found myself in the thick of it in corner one. I was hit from behind and then forced into the back of David Coulthard. I did what I could to avoid him but I was forced into the air and then I came down on my team mate, Mark. I continued racing but there was some damage to the front and rear of the car causing problems. The car started to overheat and I came in for a pitstop and the guys sorted this immediately. However, the front wing was damaged and by the time I had left my first pit-stop I knew that I would have to come in again. I was forced to stop again to check from a safety point of view that my ?rear wing end plate was going to be ok and once the guys had given me the thumbs up I was out racing again. Although I was bue-flagged a couple of times my pace was really good in the R5 and I was pleased with the R5. The first corner was an unfortunate incident but I know that when we are all racing for that first corner position these things are bound to happen. I will focus now on going to Indianapolis and another new track for me."
Mark Webber (DNF, Damage): "I was looking forward to this race as I felt that we had a good strategy in place and the R5 was feeling competitive. My start was quick enough and I was fast into the first corner. I could see that there was a lot of traffic in the corner and not a lot of space. Unfortunately some things are out of your control and I could see that David Coulthard was going into a spin and Christian and I both had no where to go. As Christian made contact with David the outcome was his R5 landing on my front wing. I could tell that some damage had been done immediately and the team confirmed that the rear suspension had a problem. From a safety point of view we retired and of course it's disappointing given the amount of work that I know we have all been doing going into this weekend. We are now looking ahead to our next race and I and the team are looking forward to getting back out on track."
Mark Gillan, Head of Vehicle Performance: "We had an unfortunate incident involving both of our cars on the first corner and we had to retire Mark after he suffered damage to his rear suspension. Christian had an overheating problem and then front wing and rear end plate damage all emanating from his incident with a Jordan and a McLaren. Despite these challenges Christian's R5 has good pace during the race and he was consistent throughout. The cars were not really given the opportunity to race this weekend but we all know that in this sport anything can happen, particularly in the first corner! We are now off to Indianapolis where we will be focusing on finishing in the points."
Cristiano da Matta (8th): "It was a tough race, but satisfying to take one point away with us today. Again, though, I feel we have been let down from an even better result because of more trouble with the blue flags. The final stint was ridiculous. I was letting people past all the time and I was barely able put any proper laps together. I believe we had the ability to fight with Fisichella and Raikkonen for sixth place, but the situation with flags during the race stopped us. I know we cannot ruin the race of the guys in front, but we also have points to fight for. Anyway, one point is certainly better than zero and we will see what happens in Indianapolis next weekend."
Olivier Panis (10th): "I got a good start, but the Jaguar crashed just in front of me and I had to back off, which left me in ninth place. The strategy we had for my car could have worked, but unfortunately all of my efforts were hampered by the first incident, where I lost time moving around the cars, as well as by some slow backmarkers. Sato also went off right in front of me, which was additional time lost. I did my best to bring the car home and Cristiano's one point is positive for the team. I am looking forward to Indianapolis for my 150th race, where I will push for points, because we have proved today that we have the ability to score them."
Tsutomu Tomita, Team Principal: "It was a good race for Toyota today with both cars finishing in the top ten. We are getting everything out of the car and we can celebrate another championship point with Cristiano's eighth place, which is great news. We qualified with a fair amount of fuel and opted for the correct race strategy. It played into our hands at the start, where Cristiano and Olivier did well to miss the accident. Both drivers did a good job to get to the flag in a hard race. We now head to Indianapolis, where I hope we can repeat the same level of performance we have shown this weekend."
Timo Glock (11th): "The start was really good but I damaged my front wing early in the lap which gave me a lot of understeer until my first pit stop when we changed the wing. After the stop, I had too much front grip and oversteer. Added to that I couldn't find a good rhythm because I had to let the front runners past. That was a big problem for me as I lost a lot of time so I must learn how to do that. After the second stop I was losing engine power or something, it certainly sounded strange so I just concentrated on saving the engine. Towards the end I had a coming together with Christian Klien who was a lap down from me, I was expecting to pass him on the straight but he moved over at the corner and we touched. It was my target to finish the race and stay close to Nick and I achieved that."
Nick Heidfeld (12th): "After our experience in Nurburgring once again we showed that we have quite good race pace. I think a lot of people thought we would stop really early but we didn't - I stopped on lap 20. Unluckily the pit stop really screwed up my race. The lollipop came up too early and I went over the guy on the fuel nozzle. He's okay, which is the most important thing, but I lost nearly a minute and my race was lost after that. The heat of being stationary for so long cooked the brakes and I had to be careful to cool them afterwards. My second and third stints I struggled with the rear tyres going off, but they came back towards the end. I think it could have been a good race and I'll have to look at it more closely but I might have stayed ahead of Fisichella and he finished 6 th . I had a good chance for points, in any case."
James Robinson, Director of Race and Test Engineering: "It was a hard race for everybody and both our drivers coped very well. The pit stop incident was unfortunate for Nick as it cost him quite a lot of time in the race and he had been looking quite strong at that early stage. Timo drove maturely and did an excellent job in his first race to finish where he did and cope with a number of problems with the car ? he had a misfire towards the end of the race. He handled that and the traffic very well."
Eddie Jordan, Team Principal: "It's always nice to have two cars finish but it is a shame that we were running so well with Nick ahead of Fisichella and it didn't come to anything more. Timo will always remember his first race. He did a good job and thanks to circumstances finished in front of his team mate. It was nice to see them work together."
Zsolt Baumgartner (14th): "I was not so happy at the beginning of the race, as there were a lot of incidents on the track and, as a result, I wrecked my first set of tyres avoiding several of them. After my first pit stop, and on new tyres, the car just got better and better. Unfortunately, Klien misjudged an overtaking manoeuvre while I was in my second stint and hit the right front tyre of my car with his left rear, which caused me to spin. There was a lot of traffic around, and I lost time before I could safely rejoin the race. Despite all that, though, I am pleased to have finished another race and to have set some consistent lap times."
Gianmaria Bruni (DNF, Gearbox): "It was a good race to begin with, and the car was quick in the first two stints. There was a problem at the first pit stop, which lost me some time, but once I was back out on the track again, I was able to re-pass Zsolt and pull away. Unfortunately, a problem developed with the gearbox, and there was no choice but to retire. It's bad luck, because the car had been handling really well up to that point. I want to say a special thank you to the guys, who did a great job this weekend, and we'll see what we can do at Indianapolis next weekend."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "The team was pleased to get Zsolt's car to the finish today, but saddened by the curtailment of Gimmi's race as the result of a gearbox problem. All in all, though, the performance was about the best that could be expected today."