The XLI Grand Prix Air du Canada otherwise known as the 2003 Canadian Grand Prix, was the eighth round of the 2003 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Canada, on 15 June 2003. The race would see Michael Schumacher claim victory and the Championship lead, having battled past the two Williams-BMWs.
Indeed, the two Williams-BMWs had proved unbeatable in qualifying, with Ralf Schumacher beating Juan Pablo Montoya to pole position as they secured a front-row lock-out. Michael Schumacher would hence be left to claim third ahead of Fernando Alonso, while Championship leader Kimi Räikkönen would start from the pitlane after failing to set a time.
The start of the race saw Ralf Schumacher and Montoya duel for the lead, while Michael Schumacher fended off the attentions of Alonso. However, the #1 Ferrari's bid to hold the Spaniard off would aided by a lunge from the sister car of Rubens Barrichello, with the Brazilian tagging the rear of the Renault to send it into a small slide, while also damaging his own front wing.
Otherwise it was a fairly clean opening lap, until Antônio Pizzonia wiped out Jarno Trulli at the hairpin having been caught out by the Italian's early braking. The rest of the field picked their way through the chaos, with Justin Wilson emerging in thirteenth amid the chaos.
Onto the second lap and Barrichello's front wing suddenly fell apart, forcing him to stop at the end of the lap. However, a more significant moment ahead would see Montoya spin out of second place when challenging teammate Ralf Schumacher for the lead, the Colombian racer tumbling behind Michael Schumacher, Alonso and Mark Webber.
With that the race became a battle of strategy, with the Schumacher brothers running with a couple of seconds between them, while Alonso ran in third ahead of a resurgent Montoya. Webber, meanwhile, had become an early victim of Montoya's recovery charge, the Jaguar-Ford Cosworth lacking straight-line speed compared to the Williams-BMW combo, and would hence slip back out of the lead "fight".
A two stop race was the order of the day for the leaders, and it would be Michael Schumacher who gained the initiative in the first round, staying out one lap longer than his brother. That extra lap on low fuel saw the the #1 Ferrari demolish Ralf's small advantage, and hence emerge from the pitlane a fraction of a second ahead of the #4 Williams.
Alonso, meanwhile, would slip behind Montoya, while Räikkönen took advantage of his one-stop strategy to climb into the points, fighting with Barrichello and David Coulthard for fifth. Indeed, the Finn's emergence as a title contender was being solidified as he passed the #2 Ferrari, only for a tyre failure on lap 35 to end his hopes of a solid point finish.
With that the race was over, with the second round of stops doing little more than increasing Michael Schumacher's advantage. Indeed, the German ace would have enough pace in hand that he could ease up in the closing stages, meaning the two Williams', as well as Alonso, would move within a couple of seconds of the #1 Ferrari.
Yet, they would never get the chance to strike, with Schumacher flashing across the line to claim a ominous victory ahead of brother Ralf and Montoya. Alonso himself was satisfied with fourth ahead of Barrichello, Räikkönen bounced back to sixth ahead of Webber, while Olivier Panis survived a mid-race wave of retirements to claim the final point for Toyota.
Kimi Räikkönen managed to extend his tight Championship lead as a result of his second place finish in Monaco, leaving the Principality on 48 points. Michael Schumacher was still a major threat in second, however, and was sat just four points behind as the halfway point in the season rapidly approached. Behind, Fernando Alonso had moved back ahead of Rubens Barrichello, while race winner Juan Pablo Montoya completed the top five at the head of a trio of drivers on 25 points.
In the Constructors Championship McLaren-Mercedes had once again gained the high-ground, although they had only re-established a two point lead. Ferrari hence remained in serious contention to retain their crown, while Williams-BMW had gained on both after Montoya's triumph. They were still 21 points behind, however, and had Renault in close attendance.
The full entry list for the 2003 Canadian Grand Prix is outlined below:
The full qualifying results for the 2003 Canadian Grand Prix are outlined below:
|2||3||Juan Pablo Montoya||Williams-BMW||1:37.479||1:15.923||+0.394s|
|6||14||Mark Webber||Jaguar-Ford Cosworth||1:36.699||1:16.182||+0.653s|
|9||21||Cristiano da Matta||Toyota||1:38.244||1:16.826||+1.297s|
|13||15||Antônio Pizzonia||Jaguar-Ford Cosworth||1:38.255||1:17.337||+1.808s|
|15||19||Jos Verstappen||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||1:37.426||1:18.014||+2.485s|
|16||11||Giancarlo Fisichella||Jordan-Ford Cosworth||1:38.617||1:18.036||+2.507s|
|18||18||Justin Wilson||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||1:38.088||1:18.560||+3.031s|
|19||12||Ralph Firman||Jordan-Ford Cosworth||1:34.759||1:18.692||+3.163s|
- 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.
|______________||Juan Pablo Montoya|
|Cristiano da Matta||10|
- * Firman and Räikkönen would start the race from the pitlane.
The full results for the 2003 Canadian Grand Prix are outlined below:
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car.
- 25th Grand Prix entries for Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber.
- 68th career victory for Michael Schumacher.
- 163rd win for Ferrari as a constructor and engine supplier.
- Fernando Alonso recorded his first fastest lap.
Victory propelled Michael Schumacher into the lead of the Championship for the first time in 2003, overhauling Kimi Räikkönen to establish a three point advantage. Indeed, the damage to the Finn's title ambitions could have been a lot worse, with the pair set to be the main title pretenders heading into the second half of the season. Behind, Fernando Alonso was twenty off the lead in third ahead of Ralf Schumacher, with Rubens Barrichello in fifth.
In the Constructors Championship Ferrari moved back ahead of McLaren-Mercedes, and had established a nine point lead. The Scuderia hence started the second half of the campaign as the favourites, although both Ferrari and McLaren had been drawn in by Williams-BMW. Indeed, the second of the Anglo-German alliances was now just twelve off of McLaren after their double podium, setting up a potential three-way fight for the crown.
Only point scoring drivers are shown.
Images and Videos:
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 'Canadian GP, 2003', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2014), https://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr705.html, (Accessed 11/12/2019)
- ↑ 'Monaco 2003: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2003/monaco/engages.aspx, (Accessed 10/12/2019)
- ↑ 'Grand Prix Air Canada 2003 - QUALIFYING 1', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/2003/races/744/canada/qualifying-1.html, (Accessed 11/12/2019)
- ↑ 'Grand Prix Air Canada 2003 - QUALIFYING 2', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/2003/races/744/canada/qualifying-2.html, (Accessed 11/12/2019)
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 'Canada 2003: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2003/canada/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 11/12/2019)
- ↑ 'Canada 2003: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2003/canada/classement.aspx, (Accessed 11/12/2019)
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 '2003 Canadian GP', chicanef1.com, (Chicane F1, 2014), http://www.chicanef1.com/racetit.pl?year=2003&gp=Canadian%20GP&r=1, (Accessed 11/12/2019)
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 '8. Canada 2003', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2003/canada.aspx, (Accessed 11/12/2019)
|V T E||Canadian Grand Prix|
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