Hungary 2004: Ferrari 1-2 seals constructors'
15 August 2004
by Rob Wilkins.
Ferrari team leader Michael Schumacher led home team-mate Rubens Barrichello today [Sunday] at the Hungarian Grand Prix, in the process sealing the constructors' championship in true style for the Scuderia.
Schumacher headed the pack from start to finish, dominating a rather dull and uneventful race, and although the gap at the finish was only 4.6 seconds, the German eased off at the end such was his advantage.
Schumi can now clinch a record seventh drivers' crown at the next event in Belgium. This was also a record twelfth win for the German - the most anyone driver has ever achieved in one season.
For Ferrari it was their sixth consecutive constructors' title, and their fourteenth in total.
"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," said Michael at the finish. "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."
Ferrari team boss, Jean Todt was also delighted.
"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," he added. "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."
Fernando Alonso meanwhile was a lonely third, to complete the podium, and although he was way off the Ferrari's - 44.5 seconds at the chequered flag - he had a comfortable 20 second margin over Juan Montoya, who was fourth for Williams-BMW.
"It was a pretty calm race for me, maybe a little bit lonely even," reflected the Renault driver. "The start was a bit close when [Takuma] 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."
Jenson Button took a solid fifth, despite so much attention this weekend, after his decision to leave BAR-Honda and join Williams, a move that is still subject to confirmation by the CRB [Contract Recognition Board].
Takuma Sato was sixth in the sister BAR-Honda, despite having started from third. The Japanese driver, lost out at the start, when the Renault's rocketed up the field, as they have so often done this season, indeed Alonso's storming start was the highlight of an otherwise boring race.
Team boss, David Richards did his best to put a positive spin on an event they have hoped they might even win.
"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," he noted. "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."
Antonio Pizzonia was seventh, as he again stood in for the injured Ralf Schumacher, while the final point went to Sauber's Giancarlo Fisichella. The Italian, who will join Renault in 2005, was satisfied with his performance.
"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 isn't really enough it was still good to score it," he noted. "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 didn't make any mistakes, so I am pleased with myself and the teamwork and now I'm really looking forward to Spa."
David Coulthard and Mark Webber completed the top ten, both a lap down, while Olivier Panis, Nick Heidfeld and Christian Klien were 11th, 12th and 13th. The Minardi's of Gianmaria Bruni and Zsolt Baumgartner brought up the rear.
In total 15 runners were classified at the finish, the five retirees, Giorgio Pantano (out on lap 48 - gearbox), Jarno Trulli (out on lap 41 - engine), Ricardo Zonta (out on lap 31 - lost power), Felipe Massa (out on lap 21 - brakes) and Kimi Raikkonen (out on lap 13 - engine).
The race itself though, was best summed up by ITV commentator James Allen, who said: "The highlight was Ross Brawn eating a banana."
Says it all really - by no means a classic.
Roll on Spa... has to be better - doesn't it?
1. Michael Schumacher Germany Ferrari-Ferrari 70 laps 1hr 35mins 26.131secs
2. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Ferrari-Ferrari +4.6secs
3. Fernando Alonso Spain Renault-Renault +44.5secs
4. Juan Montoya Colombia Williams-BMW +62.6secs
5. Jenson Button Britain BAR-Honda +67.4secs
6. Takuma Sato Japan BAR-Honda +1 lap
7. Antonio Pizzonia Brazil Williams-BMW +1 lap
8. Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Sauber-Petronas +1 lap
9. David Coulthard Britain McLaren-Mercedes +1 lap
10. Mark Webber Australia Jaguar-Cosworth +1 lap
11. Olivier Panis France Toyota-Toyota +1 lap
12. Nick Heidfeld Italy Jordan-Ford +2 laps
13. Christian Klien Austria Jaguar-Cosworth +2 laps
14. Gianmaria Bruni Italy Minardi-Cosworth +4 laps
15. Zsolt Baumgartner Hungary Minardi-Cosworth +5 laps
Rtd. Giorgio Pantano Italy Jordan-Ford 48 laps completed
Rtd. Jarno Trulli Italy Renault-Renault 41 laps completed
Rtd. Ricardo Zonta Brazil Toyota-Toyota 31 laps completed
Rtd. Felipe Massa Brazil Sauber-Petronas 21 laps completed
Rtd. Kimi Raikkonen Finland McLaren-Mercedes 13 laps completed
Michael Schumacher Ferrari-Ferrari 1min 19.071secs lap 29