Ralf makes it five as Schuey spins

A home victory for Williams driver Ralf Schumacher in the European Grand Prix at the Nurburgring has pitched him into the title race. McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen blew up when leading and Michael Schumacher spun out of a battle for second with Montoya to end up fifth

Ralf makes it five as Schuey spins

Raikkonen made a better getaway at the start than has often been the case this season, rocketing away from pole position and instantly starting to open out a gap over the other 19 cars in the field. Michael Schumacher's hopes of giving chase were thwarted when he was outdragged to the first corner by his brother Ralf, with the Williams driver taking advantage of his older sibling having started from the "dirty" side of the grid by the pit wall.

Such was Raikkonen's initial speed, dropping the field by almost a second a lap over the first five laps, that people started to think that McLaren boss Ron Dennis had been fooling them by saying that his cars traditionally qualify and thus start with a relatively heavy fuel load. However, when Raikkonen called in for the first of his pit stops as early as lap 16 out of the 60-lap race distance, this was revealed to have been a bit of bluff, especially as it was Ralf who stayed out longest of all, finally calling in five laps later.

This made the Williams team's aura of confidence before the race stack up. Indeed, none other than Bernie Ecclestone tipped them to win when parading the grid before the start.

However, we were never to find out whether McLaren or Williams had the better tactic, as Raikkonen's engine blew just before half distance, when well clear of the rest. This promoted Ralf into the lead with Montoya, who had been pushed back to fifth at the start by Rubens Barrichello, closing on the Ferraris. David Coulthard in the second McLaren really pressed the Renaults of Fernando Alonso and Jarno Trulli in their tussle for fifth, but just couldn't get by.

Michael's hopes of preventing Ralf from taking the glory on their home ground came to naught when he emerged from his second stop behind the Renault/Coulthard battle, which wasn't what he had hoped for, with Ralf edging away at the front.

A few laps later, Montoya came out of his second stop in front of Barrichello. And closed in on Michael. When the Colombian tried to go around the outside of the German into the Dunlop hairpin he appeared to leave just enough room, but Michael hit him and spun, amazingly without taking Montoya with him. Having kept his engine going, Michael received a push start from the marshals and rejoined in sixth place.

So the Williams duo raced on to win, making this Ralf's fifth success and his first since Malaysia 2002. The 10 points he scored, along with the fact that Raikkonen collected none and that Michael claimed only four, mean that he's now within striking distance of the points lead. Their 1-2 finish also propels Williams past McLaren in the constructors' table.

Barrichello produced yet another unobtrusive run, this time to collect the six points for third place, with Alonso surviving intense pressure from Coulthard to finish fourth for Renault. The Scot will be rueing the fact that he ought to have rejoined from his second pitstop ahead of the Spaniard, but he tried to move before the fuel hose was removed and then hesitated.

Worse still, Alonso was struggling increasingly with his brakes and while heavy braking into the NGK chicane, with just four laps to go, DC moved up on him. The decision to move onto the inside line just as Coulthard had decided to do so, forced DC to dive outside and off the track to a bucking bronco retirement in the gravel bed. A sad end to his 150th GP.

Michael almost wrested fourth place from Alonso in the final two corners of the last lap when he caught Alonso's clearly slowing Renault. However, the Spaniard was as defensive as he needed to be and held on.

The final points for sixth to eighth positions went to Mark Webber for Jaguar, Jenson Button for BAR and Nick Heidfeld - the Sauber man having driven brilliantly after starting the race from the pit lane.

Raikkonen 'Surprised' at Engine Failure

Previous article

Raikkonen 'Surprised' at Engine Failure

Next article

Brawn Criticises Montoya's 'Lack of Class'

Brawn Criticises Montoya's 'Lack of Class'
Load comments
Was Hamilton's Hungary solo start a good or bad look for F1? Plus

Was Hamilton's Hungary solo start a good or bad look for F1?

OPINION: Different perspectives had Lewis Hamilton’s solo second standing start in Formula 1’s 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix as fabulous or farcical. But did it make the championship appear too silly for the sake of a moment of high-charged sporting drama?

Why unseen Hungary heroics could be the making of F1's most overlooked driver Plus

Why unseen Hungary heroics could be the making of F1's most overlooked driver

The chaotic start to the Hungarian GP set the scene for F1's less heralded drivers to make a name for themselves. Esteban Ocon did just that to win in fine style, but further down the order one driver was making his first visit to the points and - while the circumstances were fortunate - took full advantage of the chance presented to him

Formula 1
Aug 3, 2021
Hungarian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Hungarian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

This was race that showcased the best and worst of Formula 1, producing a first time winner and a memorable comeback to a podium finish. Avoiding trouble at the start and astute strategy calls were key to success, but where some drivers took full advantage, others made key errors that cost them dearly

Formula 1
Aug 2, 2021
The “heart-breaking” call that led to Ocon’s Hungarian GP triumph Plus

The “heart-breaking” call that led to Ocon’s Hungarian GP triumph

Set to restart the red-flagged Hungarian Grand Prix in second, Esteban Ocon had some doubts when he peeled into the pits to swap his intermediate tyres for slicks. But this "heart-breaking" call was vindicated in spectacular fashion as the Alpine driver staved off race-long pressure from Sebastian Vettel for a memorable maiden Formula 1 victory

Formula 1
Aug 2, 2021
The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career Plus

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career

Emerson Fittipaldi’s decision to go racing with his brother led to him falling out of F1, but he bloomed again on the IndyCar scene. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers a career of two halves

Formula 1
Jul 31, 2021
Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track' Plus

Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track'

Mercedes ended Friday practice at the Hungaroring with a clear gap to Red Bull thanks to Valtteri Bottas’s pace in topping FP2. But there are other reasons why the Black Arrows squad feels satisfied with its progress so far at a track many Formula 1 observers reckon favours Red Bull overall

Formula 1
Jul 30, 2021
How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks Plus

How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks

OPINION: Red Bull was justified to be upset that Lewis Hamilton survived his British GP clash with Max Verstappen and went on to win. But its attempts to lobby the FIA to reconsider the severity of Hamilton's in-race penalty were always likely to backfire, and have only succeeded in creating a PR disaster that will distract from its on-track efforts

Formula 1
Jul 30, 2021
The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach Plus

The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach

OPINION: It wasn't just the Verstappen/Hamilton clash that had the Red Bull and Mercedes bosses at loggerheads at Silverstone, with the nature of Formula 1's 2025 engines also subject for disagreement. But hopes to have loud, emotive engines that are also environmentally friendly don't have to be opposed

Formula 1
Jul 29, 2021