The 2004 Italian Grand Prix, officially the LXXV Gran Premio Vodafone d'Italia 2004, was race number fifteen of the 2004 FIA Formula One World Championship, which took place at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza in Monza, Italy, on 12 September 2004. The race would see Rubens Barrichello sweep to victory ahead of teammate Michael Schumacher, and hence led a Ferrari one-two in their 700th Grand Prix as a factory team.
It would be a record breaking three days in Monza, with pre-qualifying seeing Juan Pablo Montoya set the fastest ever average lap speed for a flying lap at 262.242 km/h (162.900 mph). However, the Colombian racer would be beaten to pole position by Barrichello in full qualifying, while newly re-crowned Champion Schumacher would start from third alongside Fernando Alonso.
Rain on race morning would cause some confusion, with the track still damp in places ahead of the start. Most of the field would, however, opt for their usual grooved slick tyres, although Barrichello, David Coulthard and Felipe Massa decided to use intermediates instead.
That proved to be the wrong move for Coulthard, with the Scot diving into the pits at the end of the formation lap. Barrichello, meanwhile, would ace his start to claim an early lead from a flying Alonso, knowing that he would have to maximise his low fuel setup to remain in the fight for victory.
Behind, Schumacher would battle with Montoya for third into the Rettifilo, only to run onto the concrete and cut the chicane. He duly handed the position back but also lost out to Kimi Räikkönen, before Antônio Pizzonia tipped him into a spin at the second chicane, sending the German ace down to fifteenth.
Barrichello would break away in the early laps, although a sudden jump in track and tyre temperatures allowed Alonso to catch and pass the #2 Ferrari moments before Barrichello swept into the pits. Jenson Button, meanwhile, was the man to watch as he challenged the new race leader, while Schumacher was back in the top ten, but behind Barrichello after the Brazilian's stop.
Alonso bailed five laps later to hand the lead to Button, whose tyres faded badly in the final laps of his stint to leave him at the head of a queue of cars. He would, however, hang on to be one of the last stoppers, and would rejoin without losing the lead as Barrichello, on a very high fuel load, was mugged by the pack behind.
The middle stint saw Button just hang on to his lead, with the Brit running too much wing to escape from the pack. Schumacher, meanwhile, would move up the order during the second stint with his Bridgestones enjoying the improving conditions, and would become a major contender for victory after the second round of stops.
Indeed, after disposing of Takuma Sato for fourth after his second stop, Schumacher would inherit second when Alonso spun into the gravel at the second chicane. Button then fell to the charging #1 Ferrari, sending the tifosi into rapturous cheers, while Barrichello made his second and final stop from the lead, rejoining ahead of the fight.
Team orders came into play from that moment on, with Barrichello and Schumacher holding station to claim a one-two for Ferrari, and a rare victory for the Brazilian. Button was third having remained too much of a threat for the Ferraris to fight, with Sato, Montoya, Coulthard, Pizzonia and Giancarlo Fisichella completing the scorers.
The 2004 FIA Formula One World Championship was over with four races to go after the Belgian Grand Prix, for Michael Schumacher had built an unassailable lead of 40 points. Indeed, while Rubens Barrichello could mathematically match his German teammate's 128 point tally, the Brazilian would miss-out on countback courtesy of Schumacher's twelve victories. Barrichello would hence spend the rest of the campaign fighting to hold second, and would leave Belgium with a 23 point advantage over Jenson Button.
In the Constructors Championship Ferrari had once again extended their title winning tally, moving onto 216 points. It was status quo behind as Renault, BAR-Honda and Williams-BMW all failed to score, with Williams running out of time to catch their former engine partners. Indeed, McLaren-Mercedes had closed onto the back of their Anglo-German rivals, with just five points splitting the pair.
The full entry list for the 2004 Italian Grand Prix is outlined below:
The full qualifying results for the 2004 Italian Grand Prix are outlined below:
|2||3||Juan Pablo Montoya||Williams-BMW||1:19.525||1:20.620||+0.531s|
|12||14||Mark Webber||Jaguar-Ford Cosworth||1:21.783||1:21.602||+1.513s|
|14||15||Christian Klien||Jaguar-Ford Cosworth||1:22.114||1:21.989||+1.900s|
|17*||18||Nick Heidfeld||Jordan-Ford Cosworth||—||1:22.301||+2.212s|
|18||19||Giorgio Pantano||Jordan-Ford Cosworth||1:23.264||1:23.239||+3.150s|
|19||21||Zsolt Baumgartner||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||1:25.082||1:24.808||+4.719s|
|20||20||Gianmaria Bruni||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||1:23.963||1:24.910||+4.821s|
- 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.
- * Heidfeld was handed a ten place grid penalty for changing his engine.
|______________||Juan Pablo Montoya|
- * Coulthard and Heidfeld would start the race from the pitlane.
The full results for the 2004 Italian Grand Prix are outlined below:
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car.
- Rubens Barrichello secured the 175th pole position for a Ferrari chassis and engine.
- Barrichello scored his eighth career victory.
- Ferrari secured their 180th win as a constructor and engine supplier.
- Michael Schumacher set a new record for most second place finishes - 36.
Michael Schumacher had seen his lead in the Championship cut for the first time since he crashed out in Monte Carlo, although he had already claimed the crown. Indeed, race winner Rubens Barrichello had closed the gap to 38 points, but with three races to go was unable to challenge his teammate. He had, however, all but sealed the runner-up spot, needing to outscore Jenson Button by four points across the remaining races.
In the Constructors Championship Ferrari continued their record points haul chase, leaving their home race on 234 points. BAR-Honda, meanwhile, had overhauled Renault to claim second place as the European season drew to a close, moving three ahead of the French squad. Williams-BMW, meanwhile, were set to fall out of the fight for second, and had only just kept McLaren-Mercedes at bay for fourth.
Only point scoring drivers are shown.
Images and Videos:
- 'Italian GP 2004: Barrichello leads celebrations.', crash.net, (Crash Media Group, 12/09/2004), https://www.crash.net/f1/race-report/50037/1/italian-gp-2004-barrichello-leads-celebrations, (Accessed 24/12/2019)
- 'Italy 2004: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2004/italie/engages.aspx, (Accessed 24/12/2019)
- 'FORMULA 1™ Gran Premio Vodafone d'Italia 2004 - QUALIFYING 1', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/2004/races/767/italy/qualifying-1.html, (Accessed 24/12/2019)
- 'FORMULA 1™ Gran Premio Vodafone d'Italia 2004 - QUALIFYING 2', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/2004/races/767/italy/qualifying-2.html, (Accessed 24/12/2019)
- 'Italy 2004: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2004/italie/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 24/12/2019)
- 'Italy 2004: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2004/italie/classement.aspx, (Accessed 24/12/2019)
- '15. Italy 2004', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2004/italie.aspx, (Accessed 24/12/2019)
- '2004 Italian GP', chicanef1.com, (Chicane F1, 2014), http://www.chicanef1.com/racetit.pl?year=2004&gp=Italian%20GP&r=1, (Accessed 24/12/2019)
|V T E||Italian Grand Prix|
|Circuits||Monza (1950 - 1979, 1981 - Present), Imola (1980)|
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