A favourite moment of 2004

Memorable moments of 2004? Monaco, of course, when Monty thumped Schuey in the tunnel. If you knew a bit of history between these two from drivers' briefings, it wasn't a surprise. Bloody annoying though. You had the feeling we were about to see something special

A favourite moment of 2004

That apart, it had to be Melbourne. People had been talking about Schuey and retirement. Ferrari, they said, had just about nicked it in '03, with the help of some tyre jiggery-pokery. They were going to struggle. Kimi was favourite. And so on.

Bridgestone was struggling, said some. But Gustav Brunner had told me to take no notice. You haven't seen their new constructions and compounds together yet, he cautioned.

By the time we got to Melbourne, some people had. Those who'd been testing at a cold Imola just before the freight left for Oz. Schumacher had turned long-run times that had sent the Michelin guys running for the toilet. The straw-clutchers sought solace in the temperature. Not Michelin weather apparently. But, packing up, some were already shaking their heads resignedly as they headed for the pool table.

I remember colleague Mark Hughes returning to the press room after watching the first session of the new season at Melbourne's Turns 11/12 . "The Ferrari is in a completely different league through there," he said. He hadn't seen the times. I had: 1, M Schumacher, 1:25.127; 2, R Barrichello, 1:25.361; 3, J Trulli, 1:27.025. Up and down the pit lane faces betrayed stunned disbelief. For most, it was the shock of the season. Already.

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