The 2004 San Marino Grand Prix, otherwise known as the XXIV Gran Premio Foster's di San Marino, was the fourth round of the 2004 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged on 25 April 2004 at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola, Italy. The race would see Michael Schumacher collect his fourth straight win to continue his perfect start to the season, having tactically jumped Jenson Button mid-race.
Indeed, it was the Brit who had emerged from qualifying as the fastest driver in the field, ending Ferrari and Schumacher's pole position streak. Schumacher would, however, secure second in the #1 Ferrari, with Juan Pablo Montoya and Rubens Barrichello securing the second row.
The start of the race saw Button's BAR-Honda beat the Ferrari off the line, causing some concern for the tifosi who had expected Schumacher to streak past. Instead, the defending Champion would have to settle for second, with the rest of the field charging through the first corner behind them without issue.
Indeed, it was only when the field hit the brakes for the Tamburello chicane that some major dramas occurred, with David Coulthard slamming the back of Fernando Alonso. The Scot duly went bouncing across the gravel trap with a front wing missing, while Alonso lost a few places controlling his suddenly sliding Renault.
Schumacher would also survive an attack from Montoya at Tosa, with a dubious claim that the "could not see" the Colombian's #3 Williams-BMW as he elbowed Montoya wide onto the grass. Montoya duly slipped back to fight with his teammate Ralf Schumacher, resulting in the younger Schumacher going for a slide across the grass, a move which allowed Takuma Sato to pass the #4 Williams.
That fighting allowed Button to build a small lead on the opening lap, although Michael Schumacher would quickly demolish that to glue himself to the Brit's tail. Indeed, it seemed only a matter of time before the BAR succumbed to the Ferrari, and when Button dived into the pits for his first stop on lap nine, the race was effectively over.
Two lap records and a stop later and Schumacher was scrambling out of the pitlane ahead of the BAR, much to Button's dismay. With that the Ferrari was away, with Schumacher establishing a demoralising lead, while Button ran in an increasingly lonely second, well clear of Montoya.
Indeed, the entire fight for the podium, let alone victory, was over from that moment, with the second round of stops seeing Montoya, Button and Schumacher come in and stop without losing their positions. Behind, there was more interest as Barrichello closed in on Ralf Schumacehr, but could not find a way past, while Felipe Massa and Mark Webber squabbled outside of the top ten.
The third round of stops would see Jarno Trulli jump Barrichello, while Alonso jumped both of them, but on-track action was limited. Elsewhere, a promising run in the points for Sato would be ended by another dramatic engine failure, while Alonso inadvertently tipped Ralf Schumacher into a spin at Tosa, before charging off after Montoya.
With that the race was over, with Michael Schumacher cruising through the final laps to claim another ominous victory ahead of Button. Montoya completed the podium before Alonso could catch him, while Trulli likewise fended off a charge from Barrichello to secure fifth. Ralf Schumacher would recover to seventh after his Alonso tap, while Kimi Räikkönen scored his first points of the campaign, albeit in a disappointing eighth.
Michael Schumacher continued his charge towards the title with his third win in three races in 2004, ending the weekend on a maximum score of 30 points. Rubens Barrichello was now the only driver within a win's worth of points of the German ace, making the German the favourite for the title already. Jenson Button, meanwhile, had moved into third after a second successive podium, with Juan Pablo Montoya and Fernando Alonso completing the scorers.
In the Constructors Championship Ferrari looked to be in a class of their own, having dropped just three points across the opening three rounds. They therefore had a crushing 29 point lead over second placed Renault, while Williams-BMW slipped to third, three of the French manufacturer. BAR-Honda, meanwhile, had drawn level with the Anglo-German alliance, with McLaren-Mercedes completing the top five.
The full entry list for the 2004 San Marino Grand Prix is outlined below:
The full qualifying results for the 2004 San Marino Grand Prix are outlined below:
|3||3||Juan Pablo Montoya||Williams-BMW||1:19.805||1:20.212||+0.459s|
|8||14||Mark Webber||Jaguar-Ford Cosworth||1:21.458||1:20.921||+1.168s|
|10||16||Cristiano da Matta||Toyota||1:21.737||1:21.087||+1.334s|
|14||15||Christian Klien||Jaguar-Ford Cosworth||1:22.246||1:21.949||+2.196s|
|15||19||Giorgio Pantano||Jordan-Ford Cosworth||1:24.643||1:23.352||+3.599s|
|16||18||Nick Heidfeld||Jordan-Ford Cosworth||1:23.055||1:23.488||+3.735s|
|17||20||Gianmaria Bruni||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||1:26.463||1:26.899||+7.146s|
|18*||21||Zsolt Baumgartner||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||1:27.319||1:46.299||+26.546s|
- 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.
- * Baumgartner and Räikkönen awarded ten place grid penalties for changing their engines.
|Juan Pablo Montoya||4|
|______________||Cristiano da Matta|
The full results for the 2004 San Marino Grand Prix are outlined below:
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car.
- * Sato was still classified despite retiring as he had completed 90% of the race distance.
- Twentieth Grand Prix start for Cristiano da Matta and Felipe Massa.
- Maiden pole position for Jenson Button.
- BAR secured their first pole position as a constructor.
- 74th career victory for Michael Schumacher.
- 171st win for Ferrari as a constructor and engine supplier.
- Button claimed the 160th podium finish for a Honda engine.
- Schumacher recorded the 170th fastest lap for a Ferrari chassis and engine.
Michael Schumacher moved onto a maximum score of 40 points in front of the loyal tifosi, and hence established a sixteen point lead at the head of the Championship hunt. His teammate Rubens Barrichello had retained second, although Jenson Button was a strong third, just a point behind the Brazilian after three straight podium finishes. Behind the table was fairly static, with Kimi Räikkönen moving off the foot of the table after his first point score (and race finish) of the campaign.
Ferrari had likewise only dropped another five points from their almost flawless start to the campaign, leaving San Marino on 64 for the season. Renault, meanwhile, had slipped further behind, 33 behind having scored 31 points of their own, while BAR-Honda and Williams-BMW were level on 27 in third. McLaren-Mercedes then completed the top five, yet to break into double figures, with Sauber-Petronas and Jaguar-Ford Cosworth the only other scorers.
Only point scoring drivers and constructors are shown.
Images and Videos:
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 'San Marino GP, 2004', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2014), https://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr717.html, (Accessed 17/12/2019)
- ↑ 'San Marino 2004: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2004/saint-marin/engages.aspx, (Accessed 17/12/2019)
- ↑ 'Gran Premio Foster's di San Marino 2004 - QUALIFYING 1', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/2004/races/756/san-marino/qualifying-1.html, (Accessed 17/12/2019)
- ↑ 'Gran Premio Foster's di San Marino 2004 - QUALIFYING 2', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/2004/races/756/san-marino/qualifying-2.html, (Accessed 17/12/2019)
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 'San Marino 2004: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2004/saint-marin/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 17/12/2019)
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 'San Marino 2004: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2004/saint-marin/classement.aspx, (Accessed 17/12/2019)
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 '2004 San Marino GP', chicanef1.com, (Chicane F1, 2014), http://www.chicanef1.com/racetit.pl?year=2004&gp=San%20Marino%20GP&r=1, (Accessed 17/12/2019)
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 '4. San Marino 2004', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2004/saint-marin.aspx, (Accessed 17/12/2019)
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