With three F1 frontrunners eliminated in a first-corner shunt, Juan-Pablo Montoya romped to victory in the German Grand Prix on Sunday. The Colombian also leapt to second place in the drivers’ championship.
With three F1 frontrunners eliminated in a first-corner shunt, Juan-Pablo Montoya romped to victory in the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim on Sunday. The Colombian also leapt to second place in the drivers’ championship standings after world champion Michael Schumacher’s Ferrari suffered a late race puncture and trailed home in seventh.
Montoya took his second victory of the season, after setting his first pole position of the year on Saturday. The Colombian was lucky to avoid a first corner incident that took out three of the championship contenders, but he set a blistering pace that saw him cross the line a full minute ahead of McLaren's David Coulthard and Renault's Jarno Trulli.
Both Ferraris had a slow start. Montoya shot off into the lead but Ralf Schumacher moved across the track, squeezing the Ferrari of Rubens Barrichello who had Kimi Raikkonen's McLaren alongside him. The Ferrari and McLaren collided and Raikkonen spun, hitting Ralf's Williams before crashing heavily into the tyre wall at the first corner.
The rest of the field had to take evasive action to avoid the carnage. Ralph Firman's Jordan shunted Heinz-Harald Frentzen's Sauber, and Justin Wilson's Jaguar début came to grief when he collided first the BAR-Honda of Jacques Villeneuve, who spun, and then got walloped by Firman’s car.
Raikkonen was taken to the medical centre for a precautionary check-up. The young Finn’s McLaren-Mercedes was a wreck but Kimi only suffered a bruised leg and sore neck from the huge impact with the tyre wall. When the dust settled, Raikkonen, Barrichello, Ralf, Frentzen and Firman where back in the pits and the rest of the field holding station behind the safety car.
Ralf's Williams-BMW sustained too much damage for him to continue, as did the Ferrari, Sauber and Jordan. The safety car was deployed and Wilson dived into the pits. The left front suspension was changed and he rejoined the race but only for a few laps before finally retiring.
The rest of the race passed in a less chaotic manner. Once the safety car went in, it was Montoya leading from the Renault pair of Jarno Trulli and Fernando Alonso. Michael Schumacher also escaped the first corner mayhem and was fourth, followed by the other Jaguar of Mark Webber and David Coulthard’s McLaren-Mercedes.
Coulthard dispatched Webber fairly swiftly and there was a fair bit of action going on in the midfield. BAR's Jenson Button took the remaining Sauber of Nick Heidfeld and Jos Verstappen hurled his Minardi past the Jordan of Giancarlo Fisichella who was having problems. The Italian went in for a long pit stop with a gearbox gremlin and managed to rejoin the race but eventually retired with electronic problems in the final laps.
The regular pit stops started early, Trulli the first in on lap fourteen. Montoya, on a three-stop strategy, was having a race all of his own. The Toyota duo of Olivier Panis and Cristiano da Matta were hassling Webber - Panis got past but then dived into the pits and da Matta took the Jaguar at the hairpin.
Montoya pitted and Michael followed him in, leaving Alonso in the lead until he too had his first pit stop. The race progressed sedately until the second round of stops, Schumacher, Coulthard and the Renaults all had long fuel stops, evidently fuelling to the end of the race. After the shakedown it was Montoya from Trulli, Alonso and Michael.
Da Matta got past Villeneuve. Michael was closing on Alonso but not really threatening - then the Spaniard made a mistake and ran really wide over the grass. Michael shot past and homed in on Trulli. Coulthard missed his chance to take Alonso but jumped him in the pit stops for fourth.
The Scot started closing on Michael, who was harassing Trulli. Montoya took his third stop, but was so far ahead he retained the lead. Trulli's tyres were wearing, looking blistered and he was evidently struggling. Michael had a go round the outside of the hairpin but couldn't quite make it work. But Trulli made a slight mistake and the Ferrari got him at the next corner. Then Coulthard tried his luck as well. The McLaren and Renault went side by side then Trulli went wide and Coulthard belted past.
Schumacher looked on course for second but then his Ferrari punctured a tyre and all his hard work went to waste as cars streamed past the ailing scarlet machine. Michael managed to get it back to the pits but was relegated to seventh - all in the last couple of laps. Webber ended his race in a gravel trap in an unseen incident on the final lap.
Montoya was in a class of his own and lapped all but the second, third and fourth finishers. A stunning display of speed, he simply never put a tyre wrong, the only person he was racing was himself. Coulthard, meanwhile, deserved his second place.
Renault should have done better, it could have had both Trulli and Alonso on the podium but maybe the wrong tyre choice, and Alonso's mistake, wasted the chance. However, Trulli drove a fine race despite having been not very well all weekend, to finish third. A mention to Minardi's Nicolas Kiesa, who finished his first F1 race -- he may have been last but at least he finished. Toyota did well, both Panis and da Matta in the points and Button again managed to find a point for BAR.
Hockenheim has blown the championship wide open again. Montoya is now second, only six points behind Michael and Raikkonen just three points behind the Colombian. What was a two-horse race, as it were, is now a three, and even Ralf, nine behind Raikkonen and Barrichello, four behind Ralf, cannot be counted out.
There have been seven different winners this year, a far more entertaining result than F1 has seen for some time. Coulthard's second place improved his standing to seventh but his title hopes are still tenuous to say the least. Alonso slips down to sixth but it could have been better if not for that silly mistake.
As for the Constructors', Williams is hunting Ferrari down - only two points separate the teams. McLaren-Mercedes will need a few exemplary results to keep in touch. Final top eight classification: Montoya, Coulthard, Trulli, Alonso, Panis, Da Matta, Schumacher, Button.
Original article from Car