Silverstone, 20th July - Rubens Barrichello recorded his first win of the season here at Silverstone on a day when Formula 1 was also a winner, at the end of a thrilling incident-packed race. Michael Schumacher’s drive to fourth was a case of damage limitation, which sees his lead in the Drivers’ classification reduced from eight to seven points. The duo’s fifteen points has allowed Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro to extend its lead in the Constructors’ Championship from three points to ten.
Barrichello dropped two places at the start to run third behind Trulli and Raikkonen, while Schumacher maintained his fifth place behind his brother. On lap 11, Barrichello passed Raikkonen for second. Then a man ran onto the track, prompting the second appearance of the Safety Car, which had earlier come out for debris to be removed from the track. The majority of the field dashed for the pits to refuel with the Scuderia effecting a double pit stop; Rubens ahead of Michael. The Brazilian’s exit was delayed by the heavy traffic, which cost both Ferrari drivers a few extra seconds, Barrichello was now running eighth and Schumacher fifteenth. The race was now led by the two Toyotas, but they would not be there for too long as they had stopped during the first Safety Car period and unlike the top teams they were making three stops not two.
Rubens Barrichello: 'This is a fantastic feeling. I came in for a lot of criticism after Canada and France and I feel this performance answers my critics. The race was hard work but entertaining. I had a great car today, the result of all the work we have done and the Bridgestones were phenomenal. My engineers did a great job to give me such a good car so that I could attack and overtake. I lost two places at the start because I had to wait a long time for Trulli to come to the grid and my tyres lost temperature and had no grip. But I knew I would be okay once the tyres came to temperature. My passing move on Kimi was very close and I almost lost my nose. It was an aggressive but fair fight. The team is now working in the right direction to make our car even better and the championship is always open. I always leave my emotions behind when I get into the race car, but it is impossible for me not to want to cry when I hear the Brazilian anthem on the podium. It makes me think of my family and my father who sold his car so I could start racing. Your last win is always your best and this once certainly ranks highly.'
Barrichello passed Firman for 7th on lap 16 and Ralf Schumacher for 6th one lap later. Lap 26 and the Brazilian took Trulli for fifth.
Michael was also moving up, passing Villeneuve to go ninth on lap 31. Raikkonen led Barrichello by nine seconds when the Finn pitted on lap 35, handing the Ferrari man the lead, who then set several fastest laps. However, he did not build up enough of a lead to keep it when he pitted for the second and final time on lap 39, by which time Michael had moved up to fourth, before making his second stop on lap 40. On lap 42, Barrichello and Raikkonen had a thrilling duel with the Brazilian taking the lead, which he then kept to the flag. Raikkonen lost second place to Montoya on lap 48, but the Finn had a big lead over Michael who crossed the line fourth.
Jean Todt: 'It was a thrilling race! After a man ran onto the track on lap eleven, which forced us to bring both cars in to the pits together on the following lap, we found ourselves with Rubens eighth and Michael fifteenth. Both our drivers drove brilliantly and thanks to a great performance level from our engine, chassis and Bridgestone tyre package, they staged an exceptional climb through the field. Rubens has been quick all weekend, with Friday qualifying his only difficult moment. I am very happy for him. Thanks to his fourth place, Michael has limited the damage in the Drivers’ classification and along with his team-mate’s ten points the team has extended its lead in the Constructors.’ This was a great result which shows how well Ferrari reacted, along with its technical partners, especially Bridgestone and Shell and how much work was done after a few difficult races. We know the road ahead is still very long and the season is very closely contested. We will do all we can to maintain our lead in both championships.'
Michael Schumacher: 'It was an interesting and very busy race. To be honest, it was difficult to have an overview of what happened from the cockpit. Waiting in pit lane behind Rubens for the first pit stop meant we both lost a bit of time and we lost some more as the mechanics had to wait for a gap in the traffic to let Rubens out. But it was definitely the right decision to come in and wait rather than do another lap. Rubens drove a perfect race with some outstanding passing moves to fight his way through the field. He deserves the victory and I am happy for him. As for myself, fourth is not too bad considering what happened and in terms of the championship, my lead over Kimi has only been reduced by one point.'
Ross Brawn: 'An exceptional race! Today showed that overtaking is currently possible in Formula 1. It was incredible. We had a slightly difficult double pit stop shortly after the start, from which we did not emerge in particularly good shape, especially with Michael. Both drivers kept a cool head and started moving up the order, with a great performance. Rubens has been very competitive all weekend, as he was here in the test after the Canadian Grand Prix. We had a few difficulties in the last few races, but today, along with Bridgestone, we delivered a strong response. The rest of the season will be difficult, but we have shown what we can do and that we are capable of beating the opposition.'