The 2004 British Grand Prix, otherwise known as the 2004 Formula 1 Foster's British Grand Prix, was the eleventh round of the 2004 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at the Silverstone Circuit in Northamptonshire, UK, on 11 July 2004. The race would see Michael Schumacher secure his tenth victory of the season as he continued his dominant streak to a seventh World Championship crown.
There had been a surprise result in qualifying as an out of form Kimi Räikkönen claimed pole position, beating Schumacher's Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello. Jenson Button gave home fans hope by claiming third for BAR-Honda, while Schumacher would start from fourth having reportedly opted for a higher fuel load.
Räikkönen's sudden strong form continued through the start of the race, with the #6 McLaren-Mercedes sprinting clear to establish an early lead. Behind, it would be grid order for Barrichello, Button and Schumacher, for the fabled Renault launch control systems on Jarno Trulli and Fernando Alonso's cars failed to dent the front of the field.
Indeed, it was a fairly tame start to the race overall, with Räikkönen building a 4.3 second lead in the opening three laps with a succession of new lap records. Behind, Giancarlo Fisichella provided the main entertainment as he sprinted up the field from last place in the pitlane to seventeenth with a series of excellent moves.
As the race wore on the Bridgestone shod cars, primarily the two Ferraris, began to pick up the pace, with the cooler conditions in Silverstone taking their tyres out of their favoured operation window. Indeed, Barrichello was able to exchange a series of new lap records with Räikkönen as he slowly clawed the McLaren back in, while Button did his best to keep pace with Schumacher on his tail.
Räikkönen duly led the top three into the pits for the first of their three stops a few laps later, leaving Schumacher on his own at the head of the field. In clear air the German ace set a series of new lap records to demolish Räikkönen's advantage, with the Finn himself having emerged from his stop behind a stubborn Takuma Sato.
Sato's intervention allowed Ferrari to swap Schumacher onto a two-stop, and hence ended any hopes of the #1 Ferrari being challenged, for it emerged from the pits well ahead of Räikkönen's McLaren. Furthermore, Sato's antics had allowed Button to jump ahead of Barrichello, and hence allowed the Brit to follow Räikkönen right onto Schumacher's tail.
McLaren, hoping to force Ferrari's hand, opted to pit Räikkönen the moment he caught the #1 Ferrari, although the German ace was not to be fazed. Instead, the Ferrari team focused their attention on Barrichello, and a swift stop allowed the Brazilian to jump back ahead of Button to secure third behind Räikkönen.
Furthermore the final round of stops would have no effect on the order, for they came amid a Safety Car period caused by Trulli. Indeed, a suspension failure on the #7 Renault had seen the Italian's car throw itself off the circuit at Bridge, with a barrel roll seeing bits of Renault scattered across the gravel.
After a four lap pause the race resumed, with Schumacher easing away to claim his tenth victory, two seconds clear of Räikkönen. Barrichello, meanwhile, would escape Button's attentions late on to complete the podium, with the Brit himself just fending off Juan Pablo Montoya. The remaining points went to Fisichella, David Coulthard, and Mark Webber.
Michael Schumacher's march to a seventh World Championship continued in France with his ninth win of the campaign, leaving the German ace just ten shy of the 100 point mark. Teammate Rubens Barrichello had lost more ground, now facing a 22 point gap to the German ace, while Jenson Button in third left Magny-Cours 42 points away. Jarno Trulli had closed in on the Brit in the fight for third, while Fernando Alonso had inched closer to their fight in fifth.
In the Constructors Championship another strong weekend for Ferrari had put the Scuderia onto 158 points, and hence ensured they still had double the points of their closest challengers. Indeed, Renault left their home race, on the 25th anniversary of their maiden victory, on 79 points, and had hence all but given up hope of challenging for the crown. They were hence working to consolidate second ahead of BAR-Honda, with the Anglo-Japanese alliance having broken clear of Williams-BMW in fourth.
The full entry list for the 2004 British Grand Prix is outlined below:
The event was also notable for the death of Minardi Sporting Director John Walton, who died of a heart attack following the street demonstration, causing the Minardi team to withdraw its cars from Saturday's early practice session. Minardi removed all sponsor logos to mourn Walton death, immediately before the race weekend. However, after the event, the team lost their Dutch title sponsor Wilux, mainly because the logos had been removed without the sponsor's agreement.
The full qualifying results for the 2004 British Grand Prix are outlined below:
|8||3||Juan Pablo Montoya||Williams-BMW||1:34.386||1:19.378||+1.145s|
|10||14||Mark Webber||Jaguar-Ford Cosworth||1:35.853||1:20.004||+1.771s|
|14||16||Cristiano da Matta||Toyota||1:22.507||1:20.545||+2.312s|
|15||15||Christian Klien||Jaguar-Ford Cosworth||1:38.648||1:21.559||+3.326s|
|16||19||Giorgio Pantano||Jordan-Ford Cosworth||1:21.350||1:22.458||+4.225s|
|17||18||Nick Heidfeld||Jordan-Ford Cosworth||—||1:22.677||+4.444s|
|18*||20||Gianmaria Bruni||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||1:22.529||1:23.437||+5.204s|
|19*||21||Zsolt Baumgartner||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||1:23.116||1:24.117||+5.884s|
- 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.
- * Alonso, Bruni, Baumgartner and Fisichella were all handed ten place grid penalties for changing their engines.
- † Panis was handed a five place grid penalty for impeding Massa.
|Juan Pablo Montoya||8|
|______________||Cristiano da Matta|
The full results for the 2004 British Grand Prix are outlined below:
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car.
- Marc Gené made his 36th and final Grand Prix start.
- Giorgio Pantano entered his tenth race.
- 80th career victory for Michael Schumacher.
- Ferrari secured their 177th win as a constructor and engine supplier.
- Rubens Barrichello claimed a record 22nd third place finish.
Ten wins equated to 100 points for Michael Schumacher leaving the British Grand Prix, with the German ace charging towards his seventh World Championship crown at an alarming rate. Indeed, teammate and closest challenger Rubens Barrichello left Silverstone 26 points behind, while third placed Jenson Button was in danger of falling out of the "fight" completely. Otherwise it had been a productive day for Button as he had inched further away from Jarno Trulli, while Fernando Alonso retained his top-five status.
As their lead driver marched to the Drivers Championship so too did Ferrari, whom left the UK with 174 points to their name. Renault were forming the closest challenge to the Scuderia, although their non-score meant that the gap between the top two was up to 95 points, the equivalent of four race weekend's worth of points. Instead, the French squad were in a fight for second, with BAR-Honda having inched closer to twelve behind the tricolour registered squad.
Only point scoring drivers are shown.
Images and Videos:
- 'Britain 2004: Schumacher supreme at Silverstone.', crash.net, (Crash Media Group, 11/07/2004), https://www.crash.net/f1/race-report/49484/1/britain-2004-schumacher-supreme-at-silverstone, (Accessed 22/12/2019)
- 'Britain 2004: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2004/grande-bretagne/engages.aspx, (Accessed 22/12/2019)
- '2004 FORMULA 1™ Foster's British Grand Prix - QUALIFYING 1', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/2004/races/763/great-britain/qualifying-1.html, (Accessed 22/12/2019)
- '2004 FORMULA 1™ Foster's British Grand Prix - QUALIFYING 2', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/2004/races/763/great-britain/qualifying-2.html, (Accessed 22/12/2019)
- 'Britain 2004: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2004/grande-bretagne/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 22/12/2019)
- 'Britain 2004: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2004/grande-bretagne/classement.aspx, (Accessed 23/12/2019)
- '2004 British GP', chicanef1.com, (Chicane F1, 2014), http://www.chicanef1.com/racetit.pl?year=2004&gp=British%20GP&r=1, (Accessed 23/12/2019)
- '11. Britain 2004', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2004/grande-bretagne.aspx, (Accessed 23/12/2019)
|V T E||British Grand Prix|
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