The LVI Foster's British Grand Prix, otherwise known as the 2003 British Grand Prix, was the eleventh round of the 2003 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at the Silverstone Circuit in Northamptonshire, UK, on 20 July 2003. The race, which was won at a canter by Rubens Barrichello in mixed conditions, would be remembered for antics of protester Neil Horan, who ran onto the track mid-race.
Indeed, the whole weekend would be a rather strange one, with an out of form Barrichello sweeping to pole position in qualifying ahead of Jarno Trulli of Renault. Kimi Räikkönen and Ralf Schumacher then shared the second row ahead of Championship leader Michael Schumacher, while Cristiano da Matta claimed sixth for Toyota.
Raceday dawned with dark skies, although the circuit was dry when the field assembled on the grid. A slow start for Barrichello then saw Trulli and Räikkönen sweep through to claim first and second, while the Schumacher brothers fell shy of taking the Brazilian racer.
The early stages of the race proved fairly tame, until the Safety Car was called upon for debris on the track. The source was David Coulthard, whose already dim hopes of a home win had been destroyed when his headrest dislodged on lap six, forcing the Scot to pit on safety grounds.
The SC stayed out for two laps, before Trulli made a smart getaway to re-establish his small lead. Behind, Räikkönen would come under attack from Barrichello, the Brazilian finally claiming second on lap eleven, before Horan made his bizarre protest bid.
Horan, a later defrocked Irish Roman Catholic Priest, ran onto the Hangar Straight on lap twelve of the race and ran towards several oncoming cars. The SC was called upon immediately as marshals moved to stop Horan, with Stephen Green ultimately receiving the BARC Browning Medal for "outstanding bravery" for tackling the turbulent Priest.
That interruption prompted several drivers to pit, leaving da Matta and Olivier Panis to lead the field in their Toyotas. They duly established an early lead when the race resumed ahead of Coulthard, while early race leader Trulli slipped behind Räikkönen.
The Finn subsequently pounced on his McLaren-Mercedes teammate later on during the lap, before hunting down and passing Panis. Behind, Barrichello was making a similar, if slower, charge through the field to secure third, dragging Trulli up with him.
da Matta's stop on lap 30 handed the lead to Räikkönen, just as Barrichello cleared the remaining traffic and set a series of fastest laps. The Brazilian racer briefly claimed the lead when Räikkönen stopped for a second time, before making his second stop and rejoin behind the Finn.
The closing stages of the race saw Barrichello swoop onto the back of Räikkönen, forcing the younger racer into a mistake that gifted the lead to the Brazilian. Montoya then pressured Räikkönen into a second mistake to claim second, while Michael Schumacher bullied his way past Trulli to claim fourth.
With that the race was run, with Barrichello easing clear in the closing stages to claim victory ahead of Montoya, while Räikkönen had no further mistakes to complete the podium. Schumacher was next ahead of a resurgent Coulthard, with Trulli, da Matta and Jenson Button securing the remaining points.
Michael Schumacher saw his Championship lead grow to eight points as a result of the French Grand Prix, although in truth the title fight was more open than it had been in recent memory. Indeed, while Kimi Räikkönen had lost ground in France, Ralf Schumacher's second successive win had carried the German into title contention, leaving Magny-Cours just eleven off the lead. Juan Pablo Montoya was a further six behind in fourth, while Fernando Alonso and Rubens Barrichello were tied for fifth on 39 points.
Likewise, the Constructors Championship seemed to be getting more exciting as the season wore on, with just three points separating the top two teams. Ferrari still led the way, but the second straight one-two for Williams-BMW had left the Anglo-German effort well within striking range of the Scuderia. Behind, McLaren-Mercedes were still a major threat and had made a little ground, with Renault seemingly out of the fight in fourth with almost half the points of Ferrari.
The full entry list for the 2003 British Grand Prix is outlined below:
The full qualifying results for the 2003 British Grand Prix are outlined below:
|6||21||Cristiano da Matta||Toyota||1:20.765||1:22.081||+0.872s|
|7||3||Juan Pablo Montoya||Williams-BMW||1:19.749||1:22.214||+1.005s|
|10||15||Antônio Pizzonia||Jaguar-Ford Cosworth||1:20.877||1:22.634||+1.425s|
|11||14||Mark Webber||Jaguar-Ford Cosworth||1:20.171||1:22.647||+1.438s|
|15||11||Giancarlo Fisichella||Jordan-Ford Cosworth||1:21.500||1:23.574||+2.365s|
|17||12||Ralph Firman||Jordan-Ford Cosworth||1:22.335||1:24.385||+3.176s|
|18||18||Justin Wilson||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||—||1:25.468||+4.259s|
|19||19||Jos Verstappen||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||1:23.418||1:25.759||+4.550s|
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car to set their best time in that session.
- Bold indicates a driver's best/qualifying time.
|______________||Cristiano da Matta|
|Juan Pablo Montoya||8|
The full results for the 2003 British Grand Prix are outlined below:
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car.
- Rubens Barrichello claimed the 75th pole position to be recorded using Bridgestone tyres.
- Sixth career victory for Rubens Barrichello.
- Ferrari claimed their 164th win as a constructor and engine supplier.
- Only race for Cristiano da Matta leading.
Victory for Rubens Barrichello left the Brazilian racer twenty points off the lead of the Championship with five rounds to go, meaning he was effectively the dark horse for the title alongside Fernando Alonso. Indeed, Championship leader Michael Schumacher had seen his lead chipped away by the chasing pack, with Kimi Räikkönen moving within seven points of him. Behind, Juan Pablo Montoya had also gained ground, a further seven off of Räikkönen, while a pointless run for Ralf Schumacher saw him slip to fourth.
In the Constructors Championship Ferrari had, in contrast, extended their lead, moving ten points clear after Barrichello's win. Williams-BMW hence lost ground in second, while McLaren-Mercedes had inched closer to their two main rivals, although were still five points shy of the 100 point barrier. Behind, Renault looked to be out of the fight in fourth, but had a lot of space between themselves and fifth placed BAR-Honda.
Only point scoring drivers are shown.
Images and Videos:
- 'British GP, 2003', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2014), https://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr708.html, (Accessed 12/12/2019)
- 'Europe 2003: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2003/europe/engages.aspx, (Accessed 11/12/2019)
- '2003 Foster's British Grand Prix - QUALIFYING 1', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/2003/races/747/great-britain/qualifying-1.html, (Accessed 12/12/2019)
- '2003 Foster's British Grand Prix - QUALIFYING 2', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/2003/races/747/great-britain/qualifying-2.html, (Accessed 12/12/2019)
- 'Britain 2003: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2003/grande-bretagne/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 12/12/2019)
- 'Britain 2003: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2003/grande-bretagne/classement.aspx, (Accessed 12/12/2019)
- '2003 British GP', chicanef1.com, (Chicane F1, 2014), http://www.chicanef1.com/racetit.pl?year=2003&gp=British%20GP&r=1, (Accessed 12/12/2019)
- '11. Britain 2003', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2003/grande-bretagne.aspx, (Accessed 12/12/2019)
|V T E||British Grand Prix|
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