Michael first win at Hockenheim for Ferrari
2002-07-29 - By Philip Byrne
Michael Schumacher took the 62nd win of his career and his first for Ferrari at Hockenheim when he scored a 10.5s win over Juan Pablo Montoya and his brother Ralf at the German Grand Prix on Sunday.
Just nine cars finished the race, held in 30 degree heat in front of a huge 130,000 crowd.
At the start of the 67 lap race, Heinz-Harald Frentzen got away late after stalling, Mark Webber got away slowly due to a software problem, and Pedro de la Rosa retired with no seventh gear.
At the front, Michael Schumacher went straight into the lead from Ralf Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello, while Kimi Raikkonen got ahead of Montoya, Jarno Trulli jumped up to sixth, followed by David Coulthard who had both overtaken Giancarlo Fisichella and Olivier Panis who was ninth. Jenson Button picked up three places to hold tenth.
During the opening stages, Michael Schumacher steadily pulled away from brother Ralf, still tailed by Barrichello, opening up a 4.0s lead in five laps. Then came a widening gap to fourth placed Raikkonen holding up Montoya, and another gap to Trulli being pushed by Coulthard, the pair being steadily caught by Fisichella, Panis and the two Saubers.
On lap ten, Michael’s lead had reached 5.1s but then it began to drop again. A lap later, Montoya began trying to overtake Raikkonen at the new hairpin and eventually completed the manoeuvre around a third of a lap later at the SachsKurve! A lap later, Trulli was overtaken first of all by Coulthard, then subsequently by Panis, who had overtaken Fisichella, and then Massa who had also overtaken the Italian.
By lap 18, Michael’s lead had dropped to 3.3s but then it began to rise again. Behind, Ralf had pulled away from Barrichello, but then the Ferrari driver closed up again. Montoya was fourth having pulled away from Raikkonen and slowly getting closer to Barrichello. Coulthard was sixth from Panis in seventh. Massa was the first to pit on lap 20 in 9.0s.
First of the leaders to pit were Barrichello and Raikkonen on lap 26, while Michael came in for 8.4s a lap later. Ralf pitted on lap 29 as did Coulthard, while Montoya came in a lap after that. On lap 31, the order was pretty much the same as before the stops, although Barrichello had lost time to Ralf ahead of him and Montoya behind.
During the second stint, Michael opened up his lead to 9.6s over brother Ralf, while Barrichello had dropped to 2.9s behind Ralf. Montoya had dropped a couple of more seconds behind the second Ferrari, while Raikkonen suffered a puncture on lap 37, dropping to 14th and last with the subsequent moment and 19.0s pit stop.
Barrichello was the first of the front runners to make their second pit stops on lap 46 but lost over ten seconds because the fuel hatch wouldn’t open, losing his third place to Montoya. Michael pitted on lap 47, while Ralf came in on lap 48 and teammate Montoya a lap later. When they emerged, Michael had a 9.7s lead over Ralf who was 14s ahead of teammate Montoya. Fourth was Barrichello, slowly being left behind, while fifth was Coulthard, the last unlapped runner. Heidfeld lead teammate Massa in sixth and seventh places.
However, there was a sting in the tail for Williams because the team noticed that Ralf’s hydraulic pressure for the valve system was dropping and so Ralf had to pit on lap 63 for a safety stop in 7.2s which allowed Montoya to claim second place behind Michael Schumacher, who, to great acclaim, took the chequered flag for his 62nd win and the 17th for Ferrari in Germany.