The XLVIII Allianz Grand Prix of Europe, otherwise officially known as the 2004 European Grand Prix, was the seventh round of the 2004 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at the Nürburgring in Nürburg, Germany, on 30 May 2004. The race would see Michael Schumacher re-establish himself as the dominant force in F1 in 2004, claiming his sixth win of the season.
Indeed, having been beaten in Monte Carlo there would be no beating Schumacher on home soil, the German ace sweeping to pole position in qualifying by two thirds of a second. Takuma Sato was his closest challenger in second ahead of Jarno Trulli, while Kimi Räikkönen secured his best grid slot of the season with fourth.
Furthermore, there was no stopping the #1 Ferrari at the start, which sprinted away to leave Sato and Trulli to fight for second. Their squabble proved so intense that they allowed Räikkönen to sneak into second, and left themselves vulnerable to a fast starting Fernando Alonso over the rest of the opening lap. Behind, the Williams-BMWs removed each other from contention, with Ralf Schumacher ultimately taking Cristiano da Matta out as well when attempting to rejoin.
All hopes of Michael Schumacher being challenged at all in the European Grand Prix evaporated during the early laps, with Räikkönen simply lacking the pace to keep pace with Schumacher. Indeed, the McLaren-Mercedes was only really managing to keep the chasing pack at bay rather than fight for the lead, with Schumacher quickly building a ten second lead.
Such was Schumacher's pace that when he stopped on lap nine he was able to rejoin in seventh, just behind the sextet headed by Räikkönen. Räikkönen then prompted McLaren fans' hearts to drop when he stopped on the following lap, handing Alonso the lead.
Alonso's stop on the following tour handed Sato the lead, before the Japanese ace himself stopped after two further laps. Rubens Barrichello hence led for the next three laps before completing the first pit-cycle, handing the lead back to teammate Schumacher, as he rejoined in third behind Sato.
Indeed, slick work from BAR-Honda in the pits had aided both drivers, with Sato jumping into second, while Jenson Button had jumped both Renaults to secure fourth. Their fight with Barrichello would hence be the main draw for the rest of the afternoon, as Räikkönen's race came to a familiarly smokey end with his engine let go after his stop.
The BAR-Honda/Barrichello fight would be seemingly concluded when Barrichello made his second stop on lap 38, for the Brazilian was able to rejoin in third ahead of Button. Sato, meanwhile, would leave the pits from his final stop behind his teammate, although Button wisely opted to let the Japanese racer through, knowing he was yet to stop himself.
Unfortunately for Sato his hopes of a maiden podium finish, let alone beating Barrichello were ended by an optimistic lunge on the #2 Ferrari in the closing stages, which only succeeded in breaking his own front wing. Sato duly limped back to the pits for repairs, but was forced to retire, as Button took up the charge, although the Brit was too far behind to challenge the Brazilian.
Out front, meanwhile, Schumacher had paced himself beautifully at the head of the field, and hence had an untroubled run to his sixth victory in seven races. Barrichello and Button completed the podium, five seconds between them, while Trulli, Alonso, Giancarlo Fisichella, Mark Webber and Montoya secured the remaining points.
For the first time in 2004 Michael Schumacher had not only failed to win but also failed to score in Monte Carlo, meaning his Championship tally remained at 50 points. That had allowed Rubens Barrichello to close the gap at the head of the title hunt, although the Brazilian was still twelve points off his teammate's tally. Jenson Button was a further six behind, one point ahead of race winner Jarno Trulli, with just four drivers yet to score in 2004.
In the Constructors Championship Ferrari had seen their lead slightly reduced as a result of their lone score in Monte Carlo, although they still held a healthy 36 point margin. Renault had done the "damage" courtesy of Trulli's win, although they were still two races worth of points behind the Scuderia. BAR-Honda were next ahead of Williams-BMW, while Sauber-Petronas had claimed fifth from McLaren-Mercedes.
The full entry list for the 2004 European Grand Prix is outlined below:
The full qualifying results for the 2004 European Grand Prix are outlined below:
|8||3||Juan Pablo Montoya||Williams-BMW||1:29.092||1:29.354||+1.003s|
|11||16||Cristiano da Matta||Toyota||1:29.272||1:29.706||+1.355s|
|12||15||Christian Klien||Jaguar-Ford Cosworth||1:30.933||1:31.431||+3.080s|
|13||18||Nick Heidfeld||Jordan-Ford Cosworth||1:32.216||1:31.604||+3.253s|
|14||14||Mark Webber||Jaguar-Ford Cosworth||1:30.579||1:31.797||+3.446s|
|15||19||Giorgio Pantano||Jordan-Ford Cosworth||1:31.928||1:31.979||+3.628s|
|17||21||Zsolt Baumgartner||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||1:33.061||1:34.398||+6.047s|
|EXC*||20||Gianmaria Bruni||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||1:33.077||1:34.022|
- 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.
- * Bruni was excluded from the results of qualifying for ignoring a red light in the pitlane.
- † Coulthard and Fisichella received ten place grid penalties for changing their engines.
|______________||Juan Pablo Montoya|
|Cristiano da Matta||12|
The full results for the 2004 European Grand Prix are outlined below:
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car.
- Takuma Sato entered his 25th Grand Prix.
- Michael Schumacher secured his 60th pole position.
- Schumacher claimed his 76th victory.
- Ferrari claimed their 173rd win as a constructor and engine supplier.
Michael Schumacher's domination of the 2004 FIA Formula One World Championship resumed after his Monaco blip, with his sixth win of the campaign leaving him on 60 points. Rubens Barrichello hence slipped fourteen points behind having finished second to his teammate, while Jenson Button was now 22 off the German ace. Jarno Trulli, meanwhile, had slipped a little further behind the Brit in fourth, while Fernando Alonso completed the top five.
In the Constructors Championship Ferrari smashed through the 100 point barrier at the seventh race of the campaign, leaving the Nürburgring on 106 points. Renault were still second, 45 off the leaders, while BAR-Honda remained in third, inching away from Williams-BMW. Sauber-Petronas were next having broken into double figures for the season, with McLaren-Mercedes still stuck on five points.
Only point scoring drivers and constructors are shown.
Images and Videos:
- 'Europe 2004 - Too easy for Schumacher.', crash.net, (Crash Media Group, 30/05/2004), https://www.crash.net/f1/race-report/48996/1/europe-2004-too-easy-for-schumacher, (Accessed 20/12/2019)
- 'Europe 2004: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2004/europe/engages.aspx, (Accessed 20/12/2019)
- '2004 FORMULA 1™ Allianz Grand Prix of Europe - QUALIFYING 1', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/2004/races/759/europe/qualifying-1.html, (Accessed 20/12/2019)
- '2004 FORMULA 1™ Allianz Grand Prix of Europe - QUALIFYING 2', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/2004/races/759/europe/qualifying-2.html, (Accessed 20/12/2019)
- 'Europe 2004: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2004/europe/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 20/12/2019)
- 'Europe 2004: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2004/europe/classement.aspx, (Accessed 20/12/2019)
- '2004 European GP', chicanef1.com, (Chicane F1, 2014), http://www.chicanef1.com/racetit.pl?year=2004&gp=European%20GP&r=1, (Accessed 20/12/2019)
- '7. Europe 2004', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2004/europe.aspx, (Accessed 20/12/2019)
|V T E||European Grand Prix|
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