Race Results 2004


Round 17 - JAPAN, Suzuka - Race Results

Conditions: ; Temperatures: track 33-26°C, air 28-26°C

Position  Driver  Car (Tyres)  Time/Retirement Laps Pitstops
1  Michael SCHUMACHER  Ferrari (B)  1h 24m 26.985s 53 3
2  Ralf SCHUMACHER  Williams BMW (M)  + 0m 14.098s 53 3
3  Jenson BUTTON  BAR Honda (M)  + 0m 19.662s 53 2
4  Takuma SATO  BAR Honda (M)  + 0m 31.781s 53 3
5  Fernando ALONSO  Renault (M)  + 0m 37.767 53 2
6  Kimi RAIKKONEN  McLaren Mercedes (M)  + 0m 39.362s 53 2
7  Juan Pablo MONTOYA  Williams BMW (M)  + 0m 55.347s 53 3
8  Giancarlo FISICHELLA  Sauber Petronas (B)  + 0m 56.272s 53 3
9  Felipe MASSA  Sauber Petronas (B)  + 1m 29.656s 53 3
10  Jacques VILLENEUVE  Renault (M)  + 1 lap 52 2
11  Jarno TRULLI  Toyota (M)  + 1 lap 52 3
12  Christian KLIEN  Jaguar Cosworth (M)  + 1 lap 52 2
13  Nick HEIDFELD  Jordan Ford (B)  + 1 lap 52 3
14  Olivier PANIS  Toyota (M)  + 2 laps 51 3
15  Timo GLOCK  Jordan Ford (B)  + 2 laps 51 3
16  Gianmaria BRUNI  Minardi Cosworth (B)  + 3 laps 50 3
 Not classified
Ret  Zsolt BAUMGARTNER  Minardi Cosworth (B)  Spin 41 3
Ret  David COULTHARD  McLaren Mercedes (M)  Accident damage 38 3
Ret  Rubens BARRICHELLO  Ferrari (B)  Accident damage 38 3
Ret  Mark WEBBER  Jaguar Cosworth (M)  Cockpit heat transfer (burnt bum!) 20 3


Baumgartner started from pits having not run in qualifying. Smooth start but slow from Webber who lost 3 laces and Panis. The Schumacher brothers at the front of the grid pulled away fast from the rest of the field. Button passed Webber and team-mate Sato before Turn 1 to take 3rd.

With Villeneuve, Alonso, Raikonnen, Montoya and Barrichello running 9th to 13th, the midfield saw some unusually hard racing. The team asked Button, on a 2-stop strategy, to let his 3-stopping team-mate through. It cost him several seconds which may just have been critical in the final outcome of the race.

Ralf Schumacher was the first to pit on lap 10, but with a good mix between 2-stop and 3-stop strategies, it's difficult to see how things will pan out in the end ... except that M Schumacher seems to be a cert for the win given the usual Ferrari reliability.

Set-up has been a real issue for this race, with wet running on Friday and none on Saturday. Most drivers had just one flying lap on a dry track in qualifying on Sunday morning but with the cars in parc ferme between then and the race, there was no opportunity to adjust set-up.

Webber's bad afternoon continues as he makes an unscheduled pitstop, reportedly because he is getting burnt in the cockpit - perhaps because ride height is too low and the plank is bottoming more than usual? His mechanics can find no problem on the stop but he pulls into the pits and retires on the next lap, unable to continue.

Montoya tried to outbrake Trulli into the chicane but overcooked it and Trulli took the place back, followed through by Barrichello, now moving through the field after a poor qualifying saw him start in 15th on the grid. He immediately passes Trulli and is now in 7th place.

Coulthard on a 2-stop strategy is having a good race, just 1.3s behind Button in the middle stint. A good second stop from Button sees him come back out comfortably in front of Coulthard however.

Barrichello trying to overtake Coulthard at the chicane, in his words "wanted to take him by surprise" ... he certainly did because Coulthard closed the door and both limped back to the pits and into retirement with broken right and left front suspension respectively.

The battle is now for 2nd place on the podium and Ralf secures it, barring reliability issues, by coming out from his final stop between Sato, yet to take his final stop, and Button. Baumgartner stops out on the circuit with engine problems. Sato appears to be holding his helmet frequently in the closing stages but doesn't radio in with a problem - supporting a tiring neck or having problems with the HANS straps?

M Schumacher, cruising now, lets Massa unlap himself a couple of laps from the end, but comfortably takes the victory with a 20s margin over his brother in 2nd, and Button a further 5.5s back in 3rd.

Finally, farewell to the elder stateman of F1 - Oliver Panis - who drove his F1 last race here for Toyota, with Trulli taking his place in the team two races before the end of the season and Zonta returning for his home race in Brazil.

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