Grand Prix Air Canada 2003: Victory and Worldchampionship lead for Michael Schumacher and Ferrari

"At such a number of points you have to give a lot of drinks for free in Germany," said Michael Schumacher in the final press conference. With winning the 2003 Canadian Grand Prix the German has scored exactly 999 career worldchampionship points, an extraordinary, but also funny jubilee. The Ferrari driver and fivetimes world champion presented a strategic masterpiece at Montreal bringing both himself and his team in the lead of the 2003 worldchampionship tables.

Saturday qualifying had seen both Williams BMW drivers doing the fastest laps ahead of Maranello´s number one. After Monaco Ralf Schumacher had scored his second consecutive pole position, but also this time he was not able to transfer it into a win. With all top drivers on a two stop strategy Michael Schumacher had managed to hold his brother behind him very closely coming out of the pit lane after his first routine halt. Already in lap 3 Juan Pablo Montoya had spun in the last corner before start and finish caused by a problem of the automatic gearbox forcing him to a manual gearchange. Later the Colombian kissed the Champions´Wall at that corner´s exit. Both the Williams BMW lost one rear view mirror each contenting also cameras and on the podium Ralf Schumacher showed a pretty unhappy face for position no. 2. Nearly throughout the whole race the Schumacher brothers had been involved in a fierce battle for victory. First Ralf had been able to control his brother with a one second lead on the Ferrari for many laps. Then, after the first routine stop, Michael had taken the command. During the last five laps Montoya and Alonso on the places 3 and 4 came pretty close to the fighting brothers, in the finish they were within only 4.5 seconds, while the gap between Michael and Ralf was some 0.8 seconds. When the Ferraris and Williams BMWs had been in the pits, both times Fernando Alonso in the Renault had been able to get into the lead.

A race to forget was the Canadian Grand Prix for Sauber Petronas and Jordan Ford with both their cars retired by technical failures. In the case of the Irish team it had been blown Ford Cosworth engines, no good sign for the Detroit based car group celebrating their 100th anniversary on Monday after the race. Worldchampionship leading Kimi Raikkonen had made a big mistake in Saturday´s qualifying slipping out already in turn 1 to crash into the tyre wall. With a collapsed rear wing the Finn had not been able to score a lap time to stand last on the grid. During the race the Iceman suffered under defect tyre at the 340 km/h fast straight in front of the pit lane entrance, but in spite of that, he scored two important points on position 6. A similar puncture had happened in an earlier stage of the race to Renault driver Jarno Trulli, who had been crashed from behind by Rubens Barrichello in the first turn after the start. The Brazilian had to come in for a new nose scone, the Italian retired later by the consequences of the collision. Very disappointing Canada also was for David Coulthard, who had been able to come onto fourth position after a hard struggle from grid position 11. Very convincing had been the Toyotas being in the top ten for the first time in their short Grand Prix career. Olivier Panis scored his first 2003 point, an aim Cristiano da Matta had been pretty near to until his retirement six laps before the end of the race.

The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve had expected the Grand Prix competitors with rain and unfriendly temperatures during Friday and Saturday, in the middle of June only 15°C were reached. At the end of Friday´s wet free practice session this year often critized Antonio Pizzonia had been fastest. The Jungle Boy meanwhile is coached by Jaguar staff member Sir Jackie Stewart personally, but shortly after the start the Brazilian had bumped into a tyre wall, alone and not as the result of a collision, that made a new nose neccessary. Also the free practice on Saturday had under rain condition, but the Warm Up and the final Qualifying were held on a dry track, what it made difficult for all competitors to find an adequate set up in only a few minutes available. Local heroe Jacques Villeneuve, whose father Gilles had won the first Grand Prix on the Isle of Notre Dame 25 years ago driving a Ferrari, had a spin in Friday´s qualifying, only position 15 on Saturday and very early retirement in the race only in lap 15. The Canadian had left the track frustrated together with his manager Craig Pollock, before the race was finished. Both Ferrari and Renault had appeared with freshly designed lateral deflectors, but one of them flew away at Rubens Barrichello´s car. The very exciting Grand Prix of Canada with tention until the chequered flag was crowned by Michael Schumacher´s 67th career triumph, his sixth in the country with the maple leaf in their national flag.

Michael Schumacher, for some weeks also the owner of the Lorenzo Bandini Trophy, had spent some relaxing days at the Texas countryside together with his family. Before the Canadian Grand Prix he had renewed his Ferrari contract, that will end in 2004, earlier than generally expected until 2006. Maranello´s leading figures Jean Todt, Ross Brawn and Rory Byrne also will stay until that time. Negotiations with Rubens Barrichello will follow soon.

Jutta Schmitt




1 R Schumacher 1:5.529

2 JP Montoya 1:15.923

3 M Schumacher 1:16.047

4 F Alonso 1.16.048

5 R Barrichello 1:16.143

6 M Webber 1:16.182

7 O Panis 1:16.598

8 J Trulli 1:16.718

9 C da Matta 1:16.826

10 HH Frentzen 1:16.939

11 D Coulthard 1:17.024

12 N Heidfeld 1:17.086

13 A Pizzonia 1:17.337

14 J Villenuve 1:17.347

15 J Verstappen 1:18.014

16 G Fisichella 1:18.036

17 J Button 1:18.560

18 J Wilson 1:18.560

19 R Firman 1:18.692

20 K Raikkonen no time



Grand Prix Air Canada 2003, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Isle Notre Dame, Montreal, 70 Laps á 4.361 km = 305.270 km, Weather: Dry, Air 22°C, Track 30°C

1 M Schumacher 1:31:13.591

2 R Schumacher +0.784

3 JP Montoya +1.355

4 F Alonso +4.481

5 R Barrichello +1:04.261

6 K Raikkonen +1:04.5.02

7 M Webber +1 Lap

8 O Panis +1

9 J Verstappen +2

10 A Pizzonia +4 *

11 C da Matta +6 *



J Wilson, Lap 61

J Button, 52

D Coulthard, 48: Gearbox

N Heidfeld, 48: Engine

J Trulli, 23: collision damage

G Fisichella, 21: Engine

R Firman, 21: Engine

J Villeneuve, 15

HH Frentzen, 7: Electronics


Fastest Lap

F Alonso in 1:16.40 (Lap 53)


Worldchampionship Standings


1 M Schumacher 54

2 K Raikkonen 51

3 F Alonso 34

4 R Schumacher 33

5 JP Montoya 31

6 R Barrichello 31

7 D Coulthard 25

8 J Trulli 13

9 G Fisichella 10

10 J Button 8

11 HH Frentzen 7

12 M Webber 6

13 C da Matta 3

14 J Villeneuve 3

15 N Heidfeld 1

16 R Firman 1

17 O Panis 1



1 Ferrari 85

2 McLaren Mercedes 76

3 Williams BMW 64

4 Renault 47

5 Jordan Ford 11

6 BAR Honda 11

7 Sauber Petronas 8

8 Jaguar Cosworth 6

9 Toyota 4






Grand Prix People in Montreal . . .


© by Schlegelmilch Photography

Ralf and Michael Schumacher


© by Schlegelmilch Photography

Pierre Dupasquier of Michelin and Ron Dennis of McLaren


© by Schlegelmilch Photography

Mark Webber of Jaguar Racing


© by Schlegelmilch Photography

Rock Star Ozzy Osborne with Ferrari´s Jean Todt


© by Schlegelmilch Photography

Ralf Schumacher and Dr Mario Theissen of BMW


© by Schlegelmilch Photography

Juan Pablo Montoya


The Schlegelmilch images on this page are brought to you by kind permission of Schlegelmilch Photography .



Postcards from Montreal 2003


© 2003 by researchracing


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