The 2003 Monaco Grand Prix, formally known as the Grand Prix de Monaco 2003, was the seventh round of the 2003 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at the Circuit de Monaco in Monte Carlo, Monaco, on 1 June 2003. The race would be infamous as the first ever Grand Prix not to feature an on-track overtake, despite at late race truel for victory.
The star of qualifying had been Ralf Schumacher, who claimed pole position by 0.036s from Kimi Räikkönen of McLaren-Mercedes. Juan Pablo Montoya was next in the second Williams-BMW ahead of Jarno Trulli, while Michael Schumacher led the Ferrari challenge from fifth.
During the qualifying session there would be a scary crash for Jenson Button, with the #17 BAR-Honda smashing itself into the barriers on the run to the Nouvelle Chicane. Button was sent to hospital for checks, but was only found to have bruising to his legs, although the Brit opted to withdraw from the race.
The start of the race saw Ralf Schumacher make a clean getaway to claim an early lead, while Montoya squeezed past Räikkönen to claim second. Other changes saw the two Ferraris beaten off the the line by the two Renaults, while Heinz-Harald Frentzen was an early casualty as he crashed all on his own in the second sector.
With bits of Sauber littering the circuit the race was brought under the safety car's control, which stayed out until the end of lap four. Ralf Schumacher duly aced the restart to claim an early lead from Montoya, while Räikkönen went with them to leave Trulli at the head of a train of cars.
The race soon settled into a familiar Monegasque procession, meaning attention was focused on how the various strategies would play out. Unsurprisingly Ralf Schumacher would be the first to stop on lap 21, just as Montoya began to eat away at his two second lead, rejoining down in eighth.
Montoya stopped two laps later after delivering two brilliant laps and claimed the de facto lead, leaving Ralf in a frustrated third behind Räikkönen. However, the two Ferraris and Renaults, as well as David Coulthard, had stayed out on higher fuel loads, and would begin their stops on laps 27 through 31.
The Ferrari ploy of heavy fuel loads at the start paid off beautifully, for Michael Schumacher would emerge in third place, ahead of his brother and Trulli whom he had been trailing. However, there was still no real on-track fighting of note, meaning it was down to the second round of stops to settle the order.
Ralf Schumacher was the first to stop again, although his stop would have no impact on the overall order, as Montoya and Räikkönen stopped without issue. That left the #1 Ferrari of Michael Schumacher in the lead with apprehension that he had enough fuel to make it without stopping again.
Ultimately, however, Ferrari had dropped the ball during their first stop, and hence the German ace had to stop again, rejoining in third. However, as the final laps ticked away the #1 Ferrari would steadily close onto the back of Räikkönen, with the Finn himself latching onto the back of Montoya.
The trio ran nose-to-tail through to the chequered flag, with Montoya just hanging on to claim victory, and announce himself as a title contender. Räikkönen was next and managed to extend his title lead, with Michael Schumacher completing the podium.
Kimi Räikkönen just held onto his Championship lead after the battle of Austria, albeit with his advantage now cut to just two points. Indeed, a third win in succession for Michael Schumacher had left the German ace just behind the Finn at the head of the field, with clear air between themselves and third placed Rubens Barrichello. Behind, Fernando Alonso had lost ground after his non-score, as had David Coulthard in fifth.
In the Constructors Championship Ferrari had finally taken the lead in the title hunt, moving a point ahead of former leaders McLaren-Mercedes. The Anglo-German squad remained optimistic, however, given that they were still racing a modified version of their 2002 car, and had a lot of ground in-hand between themselves and third placed Renault. The French manufacturer themselves were level on 35 points with Williams-BMW, while Minardi-Ford Cosworth remained at the foot of the table as the only pointless team.
The full entry list for the 2003 Monaco Grand Prix is outlined below:
|2||11||Giancarlo Fisichella||Jordan-Ford Cosworth||1:17.569||+0.681||44|
|3||14||Mark Webber||Jaguar-Ford Cosworth||1:18.420||+1.532||36|
|6||12||Ralph Firman||Jordan-Ford Cosworth||1:18.714||+1.826||50|
|7||15||Antônio Pizzonia||Jaguar-Ford Cosworth||1:19.521||+2.633||43|
|8||18||Justin Wilson||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||1:19.923||+3.035||40|
|9||19||Jos Verstappen||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||1:19.978||+3.090||30|
Free Practice 1
Free Practice 2
The full practice results for the 2003 Monaco Grand Prix are outline below:
The full qualifying results for the 2003 Monaco Grand Prix are outlined below:
|3||3||Juan Pablo Montoya||Williams-BMW||1:17.108||1:15.415||+0.156s|
|9||14||Mark Webber||Jaguar-Ford Cosworth||1:17.637||1:16.237||+0.978s|
|10||21||Cristiano da Matta||Toyota||1:20.374||1:16.744||+0.978s|
|12||11||Giancarlo Fisichella||Jordan-Ford Cosworth||1:17.080||1:16.967||+1.708s|
|13||15||Antônio Pizzonia||Jaguar-Ford Cosworth||1:18.967||1:17.103||+1.844s|
|16||12||Ralph Firman||Jordan-Ford Cosworth||1:18.286||1:17.452||+2.193s|
|18||19||Jos Verstappen||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||1:19.421||1:18.706||+3.447s|
|19||18||Justin Wilson||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||1:19.680||1:20.063||+4.804s|
- 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.
- * Button was withdrawn from the race after crashing heavily during qualifying.
|4||Juan Pablo Montoya|
|Cristiano da Matta||______________|
The full results for the 2003 Monaco Grand Prix are outlined below:
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car.
- 550th Grand Prix start for McLaren as a constructor.
- Ralf Schumacher claimed the 120th pole position for a Williams chassis.
- Second career victory for Juan Pablo Montoya.
- Williams secured their 109th win as a constructor.
- Kimi Räikkönen scored his tenth podium finish.
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.
Only point scoring drivers are shown.
Images and Videos:
- 'Monaco GP, 2003', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2014), https://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr704.html, (Accessed 10/12/2019)
- 'Monaco 2003: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2003/monaco/engages.aspx, (Accessed 10/12/2019)
- 'Monaco 2003: Friday Testing', pitpass.com, (Pitpass, 2003), https://web.archive.org/web/20211104030218/https://www.pitpass.com/src/seasons/2003/gp/monaco/times/fri_test.html, (Accessed 04/11/2021)
- 'Grand Prix de Monaco 2003 - QUALIFYING 1', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/2003/races/743/monaco/qualifying-1.html, (Accessed 10/12/2019)
- 'Grand Prix de Monaco 2003 - QUALIFYING 2', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/2003/races/743/monaco/qualifying-2.html, (Accessed 10/12/2019)
- 'Monaco 2003: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2003/monaco/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 10/12/2019)
- 'Monaco 2003: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2003/monaco/classement.aspx, (Accessed 10/12/2019)
- '7. Monaco 2003', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2003/monaco.aspx, (Accessed 10/12/2019)
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