The 2003 French Grand Prix, officially advertised as the LXXXIX Mobil 1 Grand Prix de France, was the tenth round of the 2003 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours in Magny-Cours, France, on 6 July 2003. The race would see Ralf Schumacher and Williams-BMW claim their second victory and one-two in a week, courtesy of their superior Michelin tyres.
Indeed, the Michelin shod cars had been the teams to beat during qualifying, with Ralf Schumacher grabbing pole position ahead of teammate Juan Pablo Montoya. Championship leader Michael Schumacher was the lone Bridgestone runner in the top eight after claiming third, with main title rival Kimi Räikkönen claiming fourth.
Michelin's magic would continue through the start, with the two Williams-BMWs immediately streaking off to claim an early lead, while Schumacher just edged out the two McLaren-Mercedes. They were joined in their harassment of the #1 Ferrari by the two Renaults, before Räikkönen slipped past to secure third.
The two Williams soon checked out at the head of the field, while Räikkönen broke clear of Schumacher to run in an increasingly lonely third. Schumacher himself would hence find himself fending off repeated attacks from David Coulthard, Jarno Trulli and Fernando Alonso, although none of the quartet could make a move stick.
High tyre wear at Magny-Cours meant that several pitstops would be required, with the majority of the field opting for a three-stop plan. In the first round it was McLaren who gained, Räikkönen getting closer to the Williams while Coulthard jumped Schumacher, with the field then remaining stable through the second round.
Into the third round of stops and Montoya tried to undercut his teammate, demolishing the majority of Ralf's lead by pitting a lap earlier than originally planned. Ralf responded and pitted the very next lap, and would have just enough speed to keep the Colombian at bay as the jostled on the brakes into Adelaide.
Behind, McLaren's good day was unravelled, first by Räikkönen getting caught in traffic after he rejoined, before Coulthard had more serious dramas. Indeed, an issue with the refuelling rig forced McLaren to switch to their spare set-up, only for the lollipop man to signal for the Scot to go. Refueller Steve Morrow was knocked over as Coulthard sprinted away and then stopped, although Morrow was quick to confirm that he was alright.
Those two issues for McLaren cost both Räikkönen and Coulthard a handful of seconds, and hence gifted Michael Schumacher third when he stopped five laps later. They were fortunate not to slip further down as Räikkönen picked up a brake issue late on, for the two Renaults had dropped out with engine dramas, almost at the same time.
Out front, meanwhile, Ralf Schumacher would run unopposed through the remaining laps to claim victory, and close the gap to the lead of Championship to just eleven points. Montoya and Michael Schumacher completed the podium ahead of a limping Räikkönen, with Coulthard, Mark Webber, Rubens Barrichello and Olivier Panis completing the points scorers.
Background[edit | edit source]
With Kimi Räikkönen failing to score it was advantage Michael Schumacher in the Championship hunt after F1's first trip to Germany in 2003, with the German ace leaving the Nürburgring with 58 points. Räikkönen had therefore slipped seven off the lead, while Ralf Schumacher had closed in on both, moving onto 43 points for the campaign with his victory. Juan Pablo Montoya and Fernando Alonso were also in touching distance, tied on 39 points, with seventeen drivers having registered points.
Ferrari, meanwhile, had surprisingly managed to extend their lead in the Constructors Championship, despite lacking the outright pace in Germany. Indeed, what had started as a strong afternoon for McLaren-Mercedes had ended miserably, meaning they dropped to third behind Williams-BMW after their one-two. The latter partnership hence left Germany thirteen behind the leaders, while McLaren were a further six behind.
Entry list[edit | edit source]
The full entry list for the 2003 French Grand Prix is outlined below:
Practice Overview[edit | edit source]
Qualifying[edit | edit source]
Q1 Report[edit | edit source]
Q2 Report[edit | edit source]
Qualifying Results[edit | edit source]
The full qualifying results for the 2003 French Grand Prix are outlined below:
|2||3||Juan Pablo Montoya||Williams-BMW||1:28.988||1:15.136||+0.117s|
|9||14||Mark Webber||Jaguar-Ford Cosworth||1:25.178||1:16.308||+1.289s|
|11||15||Antônio Pizzonia||Jaguar-Ford Cosworth||1:24.642||1:16.965||+1.946s|
|13||21||Cristiano da Matta||Toyota||1:26.975||1:17.068||+2.049s|
|17||11||Giancarlo Fisichella||Jordan-Ford Cosworth||1:28.502||1:18.431||+3.412s|
|18||12||Ralph Firman||Jordan-Ford Cosworth||1:23.496||1:18.514||+3.495s|
|19||19||Jos Verstappen||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||1:20.817||1:18.709||+3.690s|
|20||18||Justin Wilson||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||—||1:19.619||+4.600|
- 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.
Grid[edit | edit source]
|Juan Pablo Montoya||______________|
|14||Cristiano da Matta|
- * Wilson would start the race from the pitlane.
Race[edit | edit source]
Report[edit | edit source]
Results[edit | edit source]
The full results for the 2003 French Grand Prix are outlined below:
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car.
Milestones[edit | edit source]
- Renault made their 150th Grand Prix appearance as a constructor.
- Heinz-Harald Frentzen made his 150th Grand Prix start.
- Tenth race entry for Cristiano da Matta, Ralph Firman, Antônio Pizzonia and Justin Wilson.
- Sixth and final career victory for Ralf Schumacher.
- Williams scored their 111th win as a constructor.
- Michael Schumacher registered his 120th podium finish.
Standings[edit | edit source]
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.
Only point scoring drivers are shown.
References[edit | edit source]
Images and Videos:
- 'French GP, 2003', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2014), https://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr707.html, (Accessed 11/12/2019)
- 'Europe 2003: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2003/europe/engages.aspx, (Accessed 11/12/2019)
- 'Mobil 1 Grand Prix de France 2003 - QUALIFYING 1', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/2003/races/746/france/qualifying-1.html, (Accessed 11/12/2019)
- 'Mobil 1 Grand Prix de France 2003 - QUALIFYING 2', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/2003/races/746/france/qualifying-2.html, (Accessed 11/12/2019)
- 'France 2003: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2003/france/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 11/12/2019)
- 'France 2003: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2003/france/classement.aspx, (Accessed 11/12/2019)
- '10. France 2003', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2003/france.aspx, (Accessed 11/12/2019)
- '2003 French GP', chicanef1.com, (Chicane F1, 2014), http://www.chicanef1.com/racetit.pl?year=2003&gp=French%20GP&r=1, (Accessed 11/12/2019)
|V T E||French Grand Prix|
|Circuits||Reims (1950–1951, 1953–1954, 1956, 1958–1961, 1963, 1966)
Rouen-Les-Essarts (1952, 1957, 1962, 1964, 1968)
Charade Circuit (1965, 1969–1970, 1972)
Bugatti Circuit (1967)
Circuit Paul Ricard (1971, 1973, 1975–1976, 1978, 1980, 1982–1983, 1985–1990, 2018–2019)
Dijon-Prenois (1974, 1977, 1979, 1981, 1984)
Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours (1991–2008)
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