CHINA IN HIS HANDS

Viceroy Rubens Barrichello: Second 2004 win in a row

Rubens Barrichello´s impressing win in the maiden Chinese Grand Prix definitely has brought him second place in the 2004 worldchampionship. For Michael Schumacher everything went wrong in Shanghai. After a spin in the second qualifying the seventimes world champion had decided to start from the pitlane with a fresh engine. Then he had a collision with Christian Klien in the Jaguar Cosworth in lap 11 (which made the young Austrian retire), another spin in lap 17 at over 200 km/h followed by a puncture in lap making the German coming home only 12th position with making totally four stops: His first finish without scoring since his eighth place in Australia 1999. On the podium Ferrari president Dr Luca di Montezemolo, Italy´s most important industrialist with enormous political influence, received a massive champagne shower after an exciting Chinese Grand Prix debut with excellent fighting and overtaking throughout the whole race. Niki Lauda: "We had not seen such a good racing for a long while. But it was not a world champion´s performance by Michael Schumacher. Honestly, I am very disappointed about him today. During the last two races Rubens Barrichello simply was better than him." For the first time in 2004 Jenson Button in the BAR Honda had scored second place, a Grand Prix win will be only a question of time. After over 80 days of absence Ralf Schumacher had returned to the business after his horror crash at the Unites States Grand Prix, he had qualified a fine 5th position and proved that he had nothing lost of his abilities by the accident. In the race he was fighting for points when he collided with DC with only 19 laps to go. Ralf had decided to come into the pits immidiately for a quick check of the car being undrivable at the moment, but at the same time his team mate Juan Pablo Montoya had been scheduled for a routine stop causing a chaos situation in the Williams pit. Schumacher left his cockpit thinking of a lot of damage to his car, but when Montoya had gone out again, the mechanics noticed only a puncture right front at the Williams BMW no. 4. With meanwhile two further laps passed Ralf definitely refused to re-enter the race.

With over 17 millions inhabitants Shanghai is China´s biggest city. Herman Tilke´s latest creation has got the shape of the shang symbol from the bird´s perspective and it means rising or growing. With 22 per cent of the entire world population China is the most important market on our planet. The Shanghai International Circuit at Anting (in the neighbourhood of the Volkswagen plant) is the most modern race track at the moment with an impressing environment. Because of the marshy ground the circuit had been constructed on polysterene blocks based on thousands of concrete columns rammed into the ground. This construction should have a minimum period of 70 years, polystrene is a pretty young material no further experiences are available. Tilke´s race tracks are all built under the aspects of their specific national environmement, so they all are different, but at the same time they are looking a little bit similar. All drivers were happy with the German´s latest design, Ralf Schumacher expressed, what all his collegues were thinking: " A very safe and successful track."

Renault had sacked Jarno Trulli inspite of so many denials during the last weeks, the Italian from Pescara meanwhile had tested for his new employer Toyota, he was in China, but did not drive. Trulli had been replaced by 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve showing a pretty average performance after exactly one year of absence from Grand Prix Racing. The Canadian also had signed a contract with Sauber from Switzerland (where the Quebecois had grown up after the death of his father Gilles at Zolder 1982) for 2005 and 2006. Villeneuve was conscious of the problems expecting him: "There is a lot to learn." The Jaguar team assembled under a big banner: FOR SALE. At Jordan Ford Giorgio Pantano had cut off all his connections to the Irish team, Timo Glock again took the position of the second driver while his testing job on Friday was done by Robert Dornboos for the first time. BAR Honda´s third car for Anthony Davidson appeared in the blue 555 livery, the whole team was also dressed in the same shape the whole weekend.

The Shanghai International Circuit has got the longest straight in the current Grand Prix calendar: Nearly 1.2 kilometres of length. With the extensive grandstand roofs carrying the noise of the engines Shanghai is the loudest Grand Prix circuit. Before the start of the Chinese Grand Prix the official opening ceremony of the track had taken place in the traditional style of this great nation and with a lot of folklore. China is the country of Confucius and of Mao. The economy is growing in rapid style, but democracy and human rights are still far away from daily life.

Jutta Schmitt

 

Results
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Starting Grid

1 R Barrichello 1:34.012

2 K Raikkonen 1:34.178

3 J Button 1:34.295

4 F Massa 1:34.759

5 R Schumacher 1:34.891

6 F Alonso 1:34.917

7 G Fisichella 1:34.951

8 O Panis 1:34.975

9 D Coulthard 1:35.029

10 JP Montoya 1:35.245

11 M Webber 1:35.286

12 J Villeneuve 1:35.384

13 R Zonta 1:35.410

14 N Heidfeld 1:36.507

15 C Klien 1:36.535

16 T Glock 1:37.140

17 T Sato 1:34.993

18 Z Baumgartner 1:40.240

19 G Bruni no time

20 M Schumacher no time

 

Race

2004 Sinopec Chinese Grand Prix, Shanghai International Circuit, 56 Laps á 5.366 km = 301.616 km, Weather: Air 29°C Track 39°C Humidity 61%

1 R Barrichello 1:29:12.420

2 J Button +1.347

3 K Raikkonen +1.469

4 F Alonso +32.510

5 JP Montoya +45.193

6 T Sato +54.791

7 G Fisichella 1:05.464

8 F Massa 1:20.080

9 D Coulthard 1:20.619

10 M Webber +1 lap

11 J Villeneuve +1

12 M Schumacher +1

13 N Heidfeld +1

14 O Panis +1

15 T Glock +1

16 Z Baumgartner +3

 

Retirements

G Bruni, Lap 39: Puncture

R Schumacher, 38: Accident

R Zonta, 36: Gearbox

C Klien, 12: Accident

 

Fastest Lap

M Schumacher 1:32.238 (Lap 55)

 

Worldchampionship Standings
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Drivers

1 M Schumacher 136

2 R Barrichello 108

3 J Button 79

4 F Alonso 50

5 J Trulli 46

6 JP Montoya 46

7 K Raikkonen 34

8 T Sato 26

9 D Coulthard 24

10 G Fisichella 21

11 R Schumacher 12

12 F Massa 11

13 M Webber 7

14 O Panis 6

15 A Pizzonia 6

16 C Klien 3

17 C da Matta 3

18 N Heidfeld 3

19 T Glock 2

20 Z Baumgartner 1

 

Constructors

1 Ferrari 244

2 BAR Honda 105

3 Renault 96

4 Williams BMW 64

5 McLaren Mercedes 58

6 Sauber Petronas 32

7 Jaguar Cosworth 10

8 Toyota 9

9 Jordan Ford 5

10 Minardi Cosworth 1

 

Photos
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Photos © sutton-images.com, graphics by project * 2000

 

© 2004 by researchracing

 

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