Drama, excitement, overtaking, multiple leaders including Cristiano da Matta, Michael Schumacher working through the field and battles seeming at every corner for the duration of the race, what a race the British Grand Prix 2003 was. At that's before you mention a man in an orange skirt...

Rubens Barrichello started the race from pole, but this was to prove to be far from one of those races where the polesitter storms off into the distance; Jarno Trulli and Kimi Raikkonen saw to that. Trulli, second on the grid at the start, flew off to a great start, the Renaults being the only runners on the super-sticky Michelins on the grid. Almost in acknowledgement of this - or was he on a heavy fuel load? - Barrichello had not even tried to defend his lead from the Renault, instead concentrating his efforts on keeping the McLaren of Kimi Raikkonen behind him. But the storming Finn was not to be resisted and Rubens was third.

Further down the field everyone else had got away without issue, save for Heinz-Harald Frentzen whose Sauber was engulfed in a cloud of smoke before trundling away along the start straight. Nothing seemed to be wrong from that point on for the veteran German, who was to have another trademark solid, but no particularly exciting race.

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Back to the front and Trulli looked comfortable in front, moving away at the head of the field. The Renault has looked good so many times this year and this was certainly one of them. By the end of the first lap the field lined up Trulli, Raikkonen, Barrichello, Ralf Schumacher, Michael Schumacher, Juan Pablo Montoya, Alonso, Cristiano da Matta, Coulthard with Antonio Pizzonia completing the top ten.

Come lap two and Trulli was cementing his place atop the field, setting the fastest lap. The Italian had made the most of his fine start and was comfortably unchallenged. Two places behind however Rubens Barrichello was merely finding his groove and who go on to set the next fastest lap, and from then many more during the course of the race.

By lap five Trulli was 1.6 seconds to the good from the normally fast-flying Finn behind, could it be a low fuel load for the Renault? After all Silverstone invites either a two or three stop strategy, so Trulli could be opting for the more stops. His lead soon became academic however, as the Safety Car took to the track. David Coulthard's McLaren, which had stormed up from twelfth to ninth at the start, had lost its head bolster sides, the carbon piece having flown off and landed on the track, and this was adjudged sufficient to bring about a period under yellows behind the pace Mercedes.

Coulthard himself had to take to the pits for a new piece - as it is part of the car's safety makeup so the McLaren boys took advantage to fuel and tyre the car. Also deciding for an early in was the Toyota duo of Cristiano da Matta and Olivier Panis and Ralph Firman in the Jordan.

Lap seven saw the restart, everyone was back racing cleanly and only Juan Pablo Montoya - restart veteran that he is from his CART days - looked dangerous as he sniffed around the rear-end of Michael Schumacher's Ferrari, though ultimately to disappointment.
Starting last at the first start had been Jenson Button and the Brit was now up to eleventh place. From the grid he had got up to fifteenth place and was then behind Nick Heidfeld's Sauber with both then benefiting from the early pit-stoppers.

The action stayed close throughout the field. Michael Schumacher closed in on brother Ralf, Button harried Heidfeld whilst those who had pitted picked their way through the field. Barrichello continued his charge in third place and was soon right with Raikkonen. Not to be resisted on lap eleven Barrichello was past. Kimi had locked up and that was all the invitation than Barrichello had required to drive past the Finn around the outside of the corner.

Then things became a little surreal. A 56-year-old man, dressed in green with an orange skirt and a beret atop his head, took to the track and ran towards the traffic along the Hangar Straight. Soon intercepted, to cheers from the crowd, by a man who preferred his colour scheme to be entirely orange, the madman was pushed to the floor and dragged from the track by a marshal who delivered him to the awaiting police to answer the charge of aggravated trespass and be the subject of a full MSA investigation.

This all meant another Safety Car period, and this time more cars dived to the pits. Cristiano da Matta was the surprise beneficiary of this and the reigning CART champion emerged atop the field from this. Pitstops over, Safety Car returned to the pits and the race was go again. Cristiano, familiar with the frequent appearance yellow caution periods and the ensuing race restarts worked the field to his advantage and got off finely into the distance. His veteran French team-mate, Olivier Panis, wasn't quite so lucky and a mistake from him meant he was unable to challenge for the lead.

Behind Panis was David Coulthard looking hard at the former McLaren test driver whilst Kimi Raikkonen was a man on a charge behind, taking early leader Jarno Trulli and closing right with Scot Coulthard.

Kimi was soon right with DC and there certainly looked to be the potential for tears before bedtime. Coulthard had proved to be unable to get past Panis who was loosing significant ground to da Matta ahead. The young Finn was pretty blunt in imposing his opinion on the Scot and took Coulthard and set about the task of making his way past Panis. Come the seventeenth lap Kimi was indeed past the Toyota and continuing to close on the lead car.

Cristiano da Matta proved to be a rather more difficult challenge. New to Formula One he may be, but he's no stranger to leading races and being under pressure. Raikkonen was wrong if he thought he'd find an easy way around the Brazilian.

Further down the field another Brazilian, Rubens Barrichello, was providing another great battle for spectators. This time the Ferrari number two's sparring partner was race winner for the last two times out, Ralf Schumacher. The Williams not showing quite the pace of recent times, nevertheless Ralf was pushing hard. Trying to the outside, the inside but ultimately passing on the outside the crowds were cheering Barrichello as he found his way past the Williams.

By now Kimi Raikkonen was within a second of da Matta at the top of the field. A win for the Finn would mean great things to his championship campaign but what of the championship leader, Michael Schumacher? Fourteenth place (that's ONE - FOUR). With all the action going on Michael Schumacher had seemingly lost out at every corner, and to add insult to injury he had to wait in the pits whilst Rubens Barrichello had taken his pit-stop during the second Safety Car period. Clearly Michael was having a busy day at the office, and there was plenty of work yet to do.

As Schumacher senior battled for position with Fernando Alonso, so Rubens Barrichello set about the other Renault for fifth place. Alonso, who many are tipping as a man to take Michael's mantle, proved to be quite a formidable foe for the five times world champion's Ferrari. Eventually Michael muscled his way past but was only to be retaken by the Spanish upstart. Barrichello further ahead was finding Trulli to be an equally feisty battling partner. Behind Barrichello Juan Pablo Montoya began to close in to add to the action.

By lap 22, just over a third distance, da Matta continued to lead Raikkonen, from Panis, who continued to hold Coulthard at bay before the Trulli and Barrichello battle with Montoya looking on. Eighth place? Ralph Firman, enjoying his best race of the year.

Next down the field Mark Webber continued to have a bad time of it, for the first race this year he wasn't impressing to the extent that team-mate Antonio Pizzonia was to overtake him and take the battle to Firman. Antonio displayed some of why some people rate him highly and subsequently took the Jordan for position.

The battling Barrichello finally made his way past Trulli coming into Copse and continued his fight forward to find his old British F3 sparring partner, David Coulthard. No sooner was Barrichello past Trulli than Juan Pablo Montoya decided that another South American should be past the Italian and overtook the Renault. Further back the other Renault had been overtaken by reigning champ Schumacher who then set about Brit Jenson Button who put on a sterling defence of his position before eventually relinquishing the place.

Next up on Michael Schumacher's hit-list was Jacques Villeneuve, this was going to be fun, and it certainly was. The French-Canadian kept the Ferrari man behind him corner after corner. When Schumacher finally found his way past it left Villeneuve vulnerable to attack from Button, who was shown that, though they may talk these days, Villeneuve sure ain't too friendly towards the Brit on track.

Whilst this had been happening the rerun of F3 battles of old had not happened between Coulthard and Barrichello, as the McLaren man had taken to the pits, gifting the position to Rubens who then closed down and passed Panis, though worryingly for Rubens, he seemed to be taking a charging Juan Pablo Montoya with him.

The half-way mark saw Cristiano da Matta take to the pits, leaving Kimi Raikkonen to inherit the lead, with Barrichello elevated to second place with Montoya third. Cristiano returned to the track in seventh place and looking useful for the rest of the race. Shortly afterwards Antonio Pizzonia's fine run came to an end in a cloud of smoke.

Raikonnen was the next of the frontrunners to take to the pits, and Barrchello was back where he had started the race, in front. A wave of pitstops then ensued so by lap 37 the top ten order was Barrichello, Montoya, Alonso, Trulli, Raikkonen, da Matta, Michael Schumacher, Jacques Villeneuve, Ralf Schumacher and Jenson Button. Montoya was then next into the pits, with Fernando Alonso right behind him. Barrichello continued with his succession of fastest laps before he too took to the pits, allowing Kimi Raikkonen once again to take the lead, but not by much.

Once both Raikkonen and Barrichello were back on track together it was clear that the Ferrari was the quicker car, and Rubens was the one on a charge. Within a lap Rubens was right with the young Finn and pushing him hard. Because he's Finnish and because he came after the other Finnish McLaren driver, Mika Hakkinen, Kimi is often referred to as the iceman, not today however. After some pressure a mistake was made and Rubens was through to take a lead he would keep until the race end.

Montoya meanwhile continued to charge, both on track and off track, as the Colombian got a bit ragged on more than one occasion. He wasn't the only one as later in the race Kimi Raikkonen decided that the Finnish driver he really should be emulating was Keke Rosberg rather than Hakkinen and he took left the track to try some alternate routes. Raikkonen's off had allowed Montoya to take the place, the Colombian acting out the role of leading Williams-BMW this time.

Giancarlo Fisishella's off track antics were more due to suspension failure, the Italian's unhappy time at the Jordan squad continuing with another retirement at Jordan's home circuit.

Barrichello's lead now looked unassailable ahead the field, and the Brazilian was no doubt pondering the bad luck that he has suffered over the years, and hoping that he did have the correct amount of fuel in his car.

Ultimately there was no worry for Barrichello and he sailed on to take a popular sixth victory in one of the finest Grand Prix for years. Montoya came home second and Raikkonen rounded off the podium. Michael Schumacher, after fighting his way tooth and nail for the entire race, came home in a fine fourth place, ahead of leading Brit David Coulthard. Jarno Trulli ended the day sixth, ahead of the impressive Cristiano da Matta with Brit Jenson Button taking the final point after a fine drive from last place on the grid.

To get to the chequered flag there had been no end of action, people will remember the British Grand Prix at Silverstone for many, many more years. Hopefully Silverstone itself will also continue just as long as the memories...

The final word goes to Jackie Stewart, speaking to the crowds after the race: ''The best race I've ever watched, I've never seen such a hell of a race - not bad for the worst Grand Prix track in the world!''

What do you think Bernie?

Race result:

1. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Ferrari-Ferrari 60 laps 1 hour 28mins 34.554secs
2. Juan Montoya Colombia Williams-BMW +5.400secs
3. Kimi Raikkonen Finland McLaren-Mercedes +10.600secs
4. Michael Schumacher Germany Ferrari-Ferrari +25.600secs
5. David Coulthard Britain McLaren-Mercedes +36.800secs
6. Jarno Trulli Italy Renault-Renault +43.000secs
7. Cristiano da Matta Brazil Toyota-Toyota +45.000secs
8. Jenson Button Britain BAR-Honda +45.400secs

9. Ralf Schumacher Germany Williams-BMW +58.000secs
10. Jacques Villeneuve Canada BAR-Honda +1min 03.500secs
11. Olivier Panis France Toyota-Toyota +1min 05.207secs
12. Heinz-Harald Frentzen Germany Sauber-Petronas +1min 05.564secs
13. Ralph Firman Britain Jordan-Ford +1 lap
14. Mark Webber Australia Jaguar-Cosworth +1 lap
15. Jos Verstappen Holland Minardi-Cosworth +2 laps
16. Justin Wilson Britain Minardi-Cosworth +2 laps
17. Nick Heidfeld Germany Sauber-Petronas +2 laps
18. Fernando Alonso Spain Renault-Renault +8 laps

Rtd. Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Jordan-Ford +16 laps
Rtd. Antonio Pizzonia Brazil Jaguar-Cosworth +28 laps

Fastest lap:

Rubens Barrichello Brazil Ferrari-Ferrari Lap 38 1m 22.236secs