The LXVI Großer Mobil 1 Preis von Deutschland, otherwise known as the 2004 German Grand Prix, was the twelfth round of the 2004 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at the Hockenheimring in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, on 25 July 2004. The race would see Michael Schumacher sweep to his eleventh victory of the season, matching his own record for most wins in a single season.
Indeed, almost the entire weekend proved to be a Schumacher benefit in front of his home fans, with the German ace sweeping to pole position during qualifying. Juan Pablo Montoya would led the anti-Schumacher charge in second for Williams-BMW, with Jenson Button edging out the two McLaren-Mercedes for third, only for an engine penalty to dump him back down the field.
The start would also favour the German ace, with the #1 Ferrari instantly sprinting away to claim the lead. The rest of the field were left to fight amongst themselves, with Fernando Alonso getting a perfect start to streak from fifth to second.
Behind, Rubens Barrichello tried too hard to make up for his poor qualifying performance, and hence removed his front wing on the side of David Coulthard in the field corner. That, however, was the only incident of not on the opening lap, with Kimi Räikkönen lining up a move on Alonso for second.
The Finn duly dived past the Spaniard on the second tour, although even the revamped McLaren was not enough to catch Schumacher's fast disappearing Ferrari. Indeed, a low-fuel first stint allowed Schumacher to build a fair lead before leading the field into the pits, leaving two-stoppers Mark Webber and Button at the head of the field.
Räikkönen's race came to a spectacular end shortly after his stop, a rear wing failure throwing the McLaren off the circuit, while Webber pitted and rejoined in a terrific fight for sixth between Jarno Trulli and Takuma Sato. Button, meanwhile, would rejoin in third behind Alonso after making his stop, handing the lead back to Schumacher.
The second round of stops saw Button once again run long compared to the rest, although it was not enough for him to jump Alonso, with the BAR emerging just behind the Renault. The pair would fight until Button's tyres faded, with BAR having swapped the Brit to a three stop in a bid to jump the Spaniard.
The fight for second would resume shortly before the third round of stops, with Button once again rejoining just behind the Renault. This time, however, Button would make one of his many lunges at the hairpin stick, although he would only finish off the move by holding the inside line into the Mercedes Stadium a few seconds later.
With that Button was away to chase Schumacher, while Alonso tumbled back towards Coulthard citing a front wing issue. Behind, Montoya ran in a lonely fifth ahead of Webber, while the returning Antônio Pizzonia slowly closed in on his former teammate having out-fought Sato. The Japenese racer himself was left to fend off Barrichello for the final point, until the Brazilian suffered a left-rear puncture.
Out front, meanwhile, Schumacher would be untroubled by Button as he swept to his eleventh win of the campaign, leaving the German ace on the verge of the title. Button and Alonso duly completed the podium, while Coulthard and Montoya completed the top five ahead of Webber, Pizzonia and Sato.
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.
The full entry list for the 2004 German Grand Prix is outlined below:
The full qualifying results for the 2004 German Grand Prix are outlined below:
|2||3||Juan Pablo Montoya||Williams-BMW||1:13.391||1:13.668||+0.362s|
|12||14||Mark Webber||Jaguar-Ford Cosworth||1:15.093||1:14.802||+1.496s|
|13||15||Christian Klien||Jaguar-Ford Cosworth||1:15.090||1:15.011||+1.705s|
|15||16||Cristiano da Matta||Toyota||1:15.119||1:15.454||+2.148s|
|17||19||Giorgio Pantano||Jordan-Ford Cosworth||1:16.167||1:16.192||+2.886s|
|18||18||Nick Heidfeld||Jordan-Ford Cosworth||1:16.538||1:16.310||+3.004s|
|19||20||Gianmaria Bruni||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||1:17.283||1:18.055||+4.749s|
|20||21||Zsolt Baumgartner||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||1:17.515||1:18.400||+5.094s|
- 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 handed a ten place grid penalty for changing his engine.
|______________||Juan Pablo Montoya|
|Cristiano da Matta||16|
- * Panis started the race from the pitlane after stalling at the first attempted start.
The full results for the 2004 German Grand Prix are outlined below:
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car.
- Ferrari made their 700th Grand Prix appearance as an engine supplier.
- 81st career victory for Michael Schumacher.
- Schumacher matched his own record from 2002 for most wins in a single season - 11.
- Ferrari claimed their 178th win as a constructor and engine supplier.
- Jenson Button secured the tenth podium finish for BAR as a constructor.
- Maiden points finish for Antônio Pizzonia.
Michael Schumacher marched on towards his fifth straight World Championship crown with his eleventh win of the season, leaving Germany on 110 points. Rubens Barrichello had slipped 36 points behind his teammate after failing to score, while Jenson Button would fall out of the fight if he failed to beat Schumacher in Hungary. Behind, Jarno Trulli and Fernando Alonso completed the top five, while Antônio Pizzonia had become the season's nineteenth scorer.
In the Constructors Championship Ferrari had managed to once again increase their lead, leaving Germany with 99 points in hand. Renault were the team closest to challenging the Scuderia, but with such a huge gap ahead were instead focused on fending off BAR-Honda for second. The Anglo-Japanese squad had closed the gap between the two to just nine points, with the pair set to duel for the runner-up spot as Williams-BMW continued to fall away.
Only point scoring drivers are shown.
Images and Videos:
- Robert Wilkins, 'Germany 2004: Schu at home as rivals gift victory.', crash.net, (Crash Media Group, 25/07/2004), https://www.crash.net/f1/race-report/49622/1/germany-2004-schu-at-home-as-rivals-gift-victory, (Accessed 23/12/2019)
- 'Germany 2004: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2004/allemagne/engages.aspx, (Accessed 23/12/2019)
- 'FORMULA 1™ Grosser Mobil 1 Preis von Deutschland 2004 - QUALIFYING 1', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/2004/races/764/germany/qualifying-1.html, (Accessed 23/12/2019)
- 'FORMULA 1™ Grosser Mobil 1 Preis von Deutschland 2004 - QUALIFYING 2', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/2004/races/764/germany/qualifying-2.html, (Accessed 23/12/2019)
- 'Germany 2004: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2004/allemagne/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 23/12/2019)
- 'Germany 2004: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2004/allemagne/classement.aspx, (Accessed 23/12/2019)
- '12. Germany 2004', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2004/allemagne.aspx, (Accessed 23/12/2019)
|V T E||German Grand Prix|
|Circuits||Nürburgring (1951–1954, 1956–1958, 1960–1969, 1971–1976, 1985, 2007–2013*), AVUS (1959), Hockenheimring (1970, 1977–1984, 1986–2006, 2007–2014*, 2016, 2018–2019)|
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|* Nürburgring and Hockenheimring alternated between each other during these years.|
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