AUGUST 15, 2004
HUNGARIAN GP - SUNDAY - RACE NOTES
Schumacher-Barrichello 1-2 in Hungarian GP
Ferrari's Michael Schumacher won the Hungarian Grand Prix, at the Hungaroring, taking his 82nd career victory, winning 12 out of the 13 races contested this season - breaking his own record for wins in one season set in 2002 - and Ferrari has clinched a sixth consecutive Constructors' World Championship title.
The German started from pole position and dominated the field, winning by 4.6 seconds ahead of his team mate Rubens Barrichello in second place, with Fernando Alonso third in his Renault, 44 seconds behind.
Over a minute behind the leader, Juan Pablo Montoya finished in fourth in his Williams-BMW, followed by the BAR-Honda team mates Jenson Button in fifth and Takuma Sato in sixth.
Antonio Pizzonia - standing in for the injured Ralf Schumacher - again finished in the points in seveth place, while Giancarlo Fisichella took the final points position in eighth.
Michael Schumacher (1st): "The title means more than winning 12 races in a season and the fact this is the sixth in a row means more than the fact it is the 14th for the team. The way we achieved it is outstanding; we were so dominant, so perfect. To win in style here compared to last year shows why we have won the title so early. The whole team is great and deserves this result. The work we did with Bridgestone and Shell, for example in the Jerez test, paid off in Hockenheim and even more so here. This win might have looked easy from the outside, but I was flat out most of the race until after the final pit stop. In the early stages Rubens was pushing hard and anything could happen. The car was superb at this track. Everything is going so well and there is a great atmosphere in the team. Even after a great start to the season, everyone keeps pushing and that is great for motivation. I plan to continue enjoying winning as long as it lasts. It is true that I could win the championship at Spa or if not at Monza. Both have special significance for me, but I will try and win it where I can, because mathematically Rubens still has a chance."
Rubens Barrichello (2nd): "This title is a phenomenal achievement and I feel fantastic about being part of it. Together with Michael, we have put each other under pressure on the track to drive each other forward and the team always responds to this. It is our reliability which particularly impresses me: we just never stop. As for the race, I had a good start and I think last night's rain helped make my side of the track less dirty. I was able to follow Michael, although it was difficult to know when he was going to brake, while I was trying to defend my own position as well as try to pass him. After that, I was running at my own pace and I think there was one part of the race when I might have been a bit quicker than Michael. But while my first, second and fourth sets of tyres were perfect, I had a slight problem with my third which cost me a bit of time. I had made a different tyre choice to Michael and I was pleased with their performance except for that third set. As for the Drivers' championship, I know Michael has a very big lead, but as long as there is a mathematical possibility I will keep pushing."
Jean Todt, Team Principal: "Today we have written another extraordinary page in this company's history book: six consecutive Constructors' titles and the certainty that one of our drivers will take the Drivers' title for a fifth consecutive time are dream results. The unknown factors before the race were the start and reliability and it all went well. We knew we had a very competitive car and exceptional Bridgestone tyres in terms of their performance over a long distance and the way the race turned out confirmed that. The drivers were fantastic and as usual the team did a great job. Our technical partners, first and foremost Bridgestone and Shell, played a key role in helping us to achieve our objectives, as did our commercial partners, such as Philip Morris, Vodafone, AMD and Olympus, not forgetting all our other suppliers. A special thanks to our major shareholder, the Fiat Group which has always given us real support through its Research Centre. Now, we are looking forward to being back in Maranello tomorrow, to celebrate with president Montezemolo and the entire Gestione Sportiva."
Ross Brawn, Technical Director: "It has been a fantastic year for us so far. Taking the title with a nice one-two, having suffered so much on this track last year makes me very proud of our guys, who are able to help one another by sticking to the same aims and objectives. Our strength comes from the stability of our group and from the support of our partners: this is what makes the difference and will do so again next year, when we face another challenge with new technical regulations. As for the race, all I can say is that the Bridgestone tyres performed exceptionally well. At Rubens' first pit stop there was a problem with the refuelling rig, which we will now look into. As a precaution, the team changed the couplings, but we did not inform the drivers as we knew we would have time to fix the problem without any consequences."
Juan Pablo Montoya (4th): "This time I had a very good start! I am very pleased because I gained three places immediately and climbed up to fourth keeping that position until the end of the race. I think we made the best of the car today and we could not have asked for more. After my first pit-stop I lost quite a bit of time behind Webber and this prevented me from getting closer to Alonso later on, but I don't think we could have passed the Renault today, maybe we could have just given them a harder time! Leaving the Hungaroring with seven more points in the team's tally is good. We have more work ahead but it's clear that we are moving in the right direction."
Antonio Pizzonia (7th): "I had a poor start, it was also the dirty side of the track. The handling of my car was pretty difficult especially in the beginning but we made some changes in the pit-stops and the situation improved. For most of the race I was behind Sato, trying to get close enough to pass him, but I never had the right opportunity to do so. We nearly got him at the last pitstop but I had traffic in the pit lane. All in all I scored two more points today and this is what matters."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "It was a good race for the team. We have made a step forward, but it is obviously a long way to go to where Ferrari is with their two cars dominating. Juan made a good start and recent improvements made in this area are starting to pay off. Juan had a good race. Antonio had a poor start but raced well. He suffered from a little bad luck during his last stop due to some traffic in the pit lane causing us to hold him back after his stop was completed. Generally things have improved with the aerodynamical and mechanical changes we made to the car."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "Congratulations to Michael Schumacher for his 12th victory this season and to Ferrari for winning the Constructors' championship before time. Our new aero package has proved positive and has worked very well already. We have collected seven points and this is encouraging because our car has still not done any testing. Antonio had a poor start but had a flawless race after that. His ?off track' excursion cost him one second but didn't affect the final result. In his last pit-stop we could have let Antonio pass Sato but the plan failed because of a Jordan, driving past our garage at the wrong moment. Juan had a very good start and drove a perfect race. Both engines had no problems."
David Coulthard (9th): "We have been suffering from making the wrong decision with regards to tyres and continued to do so today as the ambient temperature remained relatively low. There was not a lot I could do in the race as we started so far back, and it's almost impossible to overtake on this track. I think we will just forget about this weekend and look forward to the Belgian Grand Prix in two weeks time."
Kimi Raikkonen (DNF, Electrical): "I gained a few positions on the first lap to be seventh and was getting into the race. I'm not sure what the problem was, but the engine kept cutting out for a few laps, so there was nothing for me to do but retire. It's a shame as we could have been in the points, but I look forward to Spa where I think we will be more competitive."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "Kimi made a good start and had a strong opening lap which saw him moving up to seventh. Unfortunately he suffered an injector drive powerbox failure causing the engine to cut out, which we were unable to rectify and consequently we took the decision to retire him. David's race was hampered by a poor grid position, which was a result of the team making the wrong decision with regards to race tyres. However his pace was comparable to the other Michelin runners. We now look forward to Spa, which should play to the strengths of MP4-19B."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "A very bad weekend with a wrong tyre choice and an electrical failure of the injection system on Kimi's car. Our team will now work hard in order to achieve a much better result at the Belgian Grand Prix and demonstrate the performance we showed in the past three races."
Fernando Alonso (3rd): "It was a pretty calm race for me, maybe a little bit lonely even. The start was a bit close when Sato tried to block me and I had to brake a little, which might have cost me second position at the first corner. Once I was in third, though, it was just a matter of managing the gap to Montoya and maintaining a constant pace. I didn't make any mistakes, and neither did the team during the pit-stops. I am quite pleased to score my second podium in a row, and it was good to finish ahead of our main rivals."
Jarno Trulli (DNF, Engine): "I think my retirement was caused by the engine: I lost power then it cut out. However, I was already having difficulties at that stage. Ever since just before my second stop, I was having big problems with the front of the car: it was understeering so much that I was losing several seconds a lap. I am very frustrated because during the first stint, I was following Button easily and felt I was faster than him."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "Fernando made an excellent start and he drove a good race, going consistently fast at every stage. His is a well-deserved podium finish. Looking at Jarno's race, he began suffering from a lot of understeer just before his second pit-stop and we therefore brought his third stop forward to try and correct the problem. Unfortunately, he retired soon after following a loss of engine oil."
Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: "Ferrari were unbeatable today, but I am pleased for Fernando that he got onto the podium again. The R24 was fast at this circuit and our consistency in the race was very good. However, when you are fighting for second in the championship, you need two cars in the points at each race. We didn't manage that today, but it will be imperative to do so if we want to maintain our position until the end of the season."
Jenson Button (5th): "I'm a little bit disappointed because we came here expecting better things. I think we might not have put the best condition of tyres on at the first stop, so we lost a lot of time. I had a lot of oversteer which made it very difficult to drive and that's why Jarno was able to get so close to me. Once I made the decision to put a set of conditioned tyres on the balance was much better. My start was reasonable but I lost a couple of places to Alonso and Montoya, then I was able to get past Taku when he went a bit off-line. The main thing is that both cars finished in the points and we've edged that little bit closer to Renault in the Championship."
Takuma Sato (6th): "I had a difficult start. I got off the line reasonably ok but at turn one I was outside Alonso, put a wheel off-line and into the dusty area. I lost traction and several cars managed to get by me over the next few corners as I lost momentum, so it was a tough opening lap. I did my best to recover then towards the end of the race we were a little bit concerned about falling oil pressure so we had to adapt. The most important thing though is that we got both cars to the finish in the points, so now we look forward to Spa."
David Richards, Team Principal: "We came here with the objective of consolidating our championship position and in fact we have edged a fraction closer to Renault; held station with Williams, and pulled away even further from McLaren. So we have to be pleased, even though the race itself was somewhat disappointing. However, we have achieved our second two car points finish in a row, and that is a much better performance than we have seen all season. With that in mind, and with five races to go, I have the feeling that we are going to be a strong contender all the way to the end however one can't help but admire and congratulate Ferrari for their superb performance. This serves as a stark reminder of how hard we have to work to get to the very top."
Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director: "The race result was pretty much determined by our poor starts with both cars losing several places by the end of the first lap. We did not get the best out of our Michelin tyres as well and are still learning the finer nuances of tuning them to the track conditions. However the team did well to get another solid result with both cars in the points and our position in the Constructors' Championship further improved."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Honda Engineering Director: "A solid if not spectacular weekend. We have closed the gap to Renault and maintained our lead over Williams. I am sure that Spa will be just as suited to our car so I am looking forward to Belgium very much. Congratulations to Ferrari - they have given us a lesson this year."
Giancarlo Fisichella (8th): "The race went almost exactly the way I expected it to, right down to the start! It was a good race for me, and even though one point isnít really enough it was still good to score it. The car had very good pace and balance, and the sole problem was the tyres graining two or three laps after each pit stop, but that cleared up after five or six laps. I did my best and really pushed, and I didnít make any mistakes, so I am pleased with myself and the teamwork and now Iím really looking forward to Spa."
Felipe Massa (DNF, Brakes): "I was able to pass a few people at the start, and after Pantano went off the road I could catch up easily with Panis. Unfortunately, after my first stop I had a problem with a 'long' brake pedal at the end of the straight. We made another pit stop to check the brake system but when the team couldnít fix the problem they advised me to stop for safety reasons."
Peter Sauber, Team Principal: "After his strong qualifying performance, Giancarlo drove an error-free and consistent race that was fully deserving of the point we scored. That is even more important for us as our immediate rivals did not score. Felipe showed his speed once again, but had a lot of problems this weekend. After his disappointment in qualifying due to an engine problem he had to retire because of a malfunction in the braking system. Fingers crossed, Spa will be kinder to him and will allow him to demonstrate his true capability."
Mark Webber (10th): "My start off the grid was ok, but I was trying to make up a few places in corner one when I was hit from behind by the Toyota of Ricardo Zonta. Fortunately the car suffered no damage and I did not need to pit early and to be honest, I was lucky only to lose one place by the end of lap one. It was really then a case of knuckling down and making it to the end of the 70-laps. I was surprised to see how many people retired given the fact that usually by the 13th race reliability is so high. I was suffering slightly from a tyre issue before my second pit-stop but before I could get in I had a spin on corner nine, which was frustrating given the fact I was so close behind the McLaren of David Coulthard. I was so far ahead of the others that I did not lose any places but it was not ideal. The rest of the race went as planned and I am pleased to have finished. My focus is now on the next race in Belgium."
Christian Klien (13th): "That was quite a difficult race out there today and it was good to see the chequered flag after my seventy laps. My start was not bad and I managed to keep my position despite the first corner being pretty busy. I was doing my best to make up some places but at one stage in my second sector I was behind the Jordan of Pantano and he was holding me up, but I suppose that's racing for you. The R5 was generally feeling good out there but my balance was changing a lot and this makes it difficult when entering the corners. I am slightly disappointed in finishing 13th as my expectations for this race were higher, but to be honest, given the retirement level it's good to have finished."
Mark Gillan, Head of Vehicle Performance: "Mark's start was not great and as he was battling for position with the Toyota of Zonta he was actually hit in corner one from behind. We were relieved to see that the car had suffered no damage and Mark could stay out as planned. Christian's start was not bad and he maintained his place in the field. Unfortunately though both Mark and Christian were struggling with balance by the end of the first session and during the second stint due to tyre issues. However, we made some changes and they were both happier after their second pit-stop. The reliability of the R5 has been good all weekend and we have certainly learnt a lot over these three days and in particular today. The changing track conditions have kept us busy since Friday but I am pleased with our general progress. We will be going home now to focus on continuing with this progress in two weeks time in Belgium where we will be looking for some point-finishes."
Olivier Panis (11th): "I didn't get a very good start and lost a couple of places, but I was able to negotiate my way through the first corner without any issue. From then on, it was a case of doing my best to recover positions. I think everybody in the team did a very good job. We had one or two problems over the race weekend, but nothing major. It was a shame that we had to start from 13th, because we looked good during the race this afternoon. With the speed that the TF104B has, we have a car that is able to score points if we start from a higher grid position."
Ricardo Zonta (DNF, Electrical): "I am naturally disappointed with the outcome of today's Hungarian Grand Prix. It was not the way I had planned to make my race debut for the team. I got a good start and made up a few positions on the run down to the first corner. Things got very tight through turn 1 and I was hit from behind by a Jordan, which sent me into a spin and to the back of the field. I then had a lot of overtaking to do, something that is very difficult at this track. In the end, I was making progress, but the car suddenly lost all power and I had to stop. The problem appears to have been caused by electronics, but we must first study all the data to be precise. I have settled into my new role as race driver quite easily thanks to the team and I am looking forward to a much stronger performance in Spa."
Tsutomu Tomita, Team Principal: "It was always going to be a difficult race for us today. After the first lap it got even harder. Ricardo made an excellent start but had a coming together with another car at the first corner, which lost a lot of places. Olivier did not get such a good start and also lost some positions. We then spent the first half of the race trying to get past slower cars. Unfortunately Ricardo had blistering on his tyres, so we brought forward his second pit stop, but ultimately an electronics problem put him out of the race. After the first couple of stints with Olivier, when we were able to get him into free air, his pace compared to the other Michelin runners was actually very good. Our weekend really went wrong when we didn't perform well in qualifying, but in the second part of the race, we showed that if we qualify where we should, we are capable of racing nearer the front. We have to ensure this happens over the next five races, starting at the next event in Belgium."
Nick Heidfeld (12th): "All in all a relatively positive weekend. I had a quite a good race, although not finishing in the points. I had a good start, gaining a couple of positions, and we made some small adjustments during the pit stops to help the balance of the car which improved it, especially for the last stint. The only problem throughout the race for me was in the second pit stop when the car fell off the front jack. I lost some time but I don't think it affected my finishing position."
Giorgio Pantano (DNF, Gearbox): "We had a problem with the gearbox. I think it maybe caused my two outings off the track, as when I changed down the gears, the rear locked and I went off. The car was not bad, once the tyres had been settled in for a few laps it felt good."
James Robinson, Director of Race and Test Engineering: "Bridgestone have done a fantastic job. Congratulations to them, Ferrari and Michael on the constructors' championship in a brilliant display of excellence."
Gianmaria Bruni (14th): "Generally, it was a good race for me, and I'm pleased to have taken the chequered flag. When we left the grid for the formation lap, Pantano's Jordan suddenly slowed in front of me, and I wasn't quick enough pulling the clutch. As a result, the engine stalled. Once the race got going, though, there were no real problems. I was able to turn some good, consistent lap times and my engineer adjusted the tyre pressures before the pit stops so the car remained well balanced and easy to drive throughout the race. In fact, the most difficult moments came when I had to move over to allow faster cars through and got on to the dirty part of the track. As you can see by the lap times, when I was on my own, the performance was good. I want to thank the guys for the excellent pit stops this afternoon - the first and second ones, in particular, were very quick. I'm happy with today's race."
Zsolt Baumgartner (15th): "I'm pleased to have finished the race, of course, but from my point of view, I didn't have a particularly successful race today. I was happy yesterday, because I was able to show the Hungarian crowd that we could produce a good qualifying performance. Unfortunately, on the formation lap for today's race, I had a problem with the car and had to come to the pits for the guys to fix it. Then, on my second pit stop, the engine stalled and we lost time while it was restarted. This is one of the races where you can lose a lot of time allowing faster cars to overtake, and I didn't manage that as well as I could have. As a result, I really didn't have a chance to show what I could do, and feel disappointed for the Hungarian fans. We'll just have to aim to have a better race next time."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "It's good to get two cars home to the finish, and it was particularly pleasing to see Zsolt take the chequered flag in front of the Hungarian fans, with whom he is so popular. Obviously, we struggled a little bit for race pace today, but on the positive side, our reliability is shining through. At the moment, given the current budgetary constraints, that's the best we can expect."