|2004 Brazilian Grand Prix|
Race 18 of 18 in the 2004 Formula One season
|Date||October 24, 2004|
|Official name||XXXIII Grande Prêmio do Brasil|
|Location||Autódromo José Carlos Pace
4.309 km (2.677 mi)
|Distance||71 laps, 305.909 km (190.067 mi)|
|Driver||Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari)|
|Driver||Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams-BMW)|
|Time||1:11.473 on lap 49|
|First||Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams-BMW)|
|Second||Kimi Räikkönen (McLaren-Mercedes)|
|Third||Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari)|
The 2004 Brazilian Grand Prix was a Formula One race held on October 24, 2004 at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace. It was the final race of the 2004 season, and local fans were delighted when Brazil's Rubens Barrichello took pole for his home race. It would be Barrichello's first non-retirement at Interlagos in ten years, his previous finish at the circuit being at the season opener in 1994. The early laps were held in changeable conditions, and the race ended up as a duel between Kimi Räikkönen and Juan Pablo Montoya, who were to be McLaren team-mates for 2005. The Colombian took victory in his final race for Williams, which was also the last win for the Williams team until the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix.
Rubens Barrichello grabbed an early lead, but in the cut and thrust of the first lap Kimi Räikkönen breezed ahead at the end of the back straight. Behind them there was a wild fight as Felipe Massa, Jenson Button and Juan Pablo Montoya diced for third. Button came out ahead but within a few minutes his race was over, the Honda V10 having blown. And then the track began to dry and Barrichello was able to get some more heat into his Bridgestones and was able to take the lead away from Räikkönen. All the while the three men on grooved tyres were coming back at the men who had left them behind in the first three laps and so the tables turned and after Rubens and then Massa briefly led the race. For a lap Felipe was in heaven.
After he went into the pits, Fernando Alonso moved into the spotlight, with an eight second lead over the rest thanks to his risky tyre policy. He had not been able to do enough to win the race but he had done enough to get a decent score. While Alonso gained from the risk, the same could not be said of David Coulthard and Jacques Villeneuve. They had been unable to use the tyres to the same level as had Fernando and they paid for it. It had been a risk for Renault but there was never much chance of the 1-3 that was needed without BAR scoring a single point. Villeneuve would end the day a lap down in 10th position.
In the brief period when Alonso was the man of the moment, the fight between Montoya and Räikkönen switched to the pitlane where the two men left the pits side-by-side. At the exit Kimi had the line. Realizing this, Montoya took a wider line than normal at the exit, where the road plunges away down the hill and as a result the Williams had a hint more momentum by the time they arrived in the braking area at the end of the back straight. Montoya jinked out from behind Räikkönen and went ahead. Barrichello's extra lap and the fact that the tyres did not heat quickly meant that the previous leader ended up sixth behind Alonso, Montoya, Räikkönen, Ralf Schumacher and Takuma Sato. That would last until Alonso came in for fuel, which dropped him to sixth. From then on it was clear that the fight was between Montoya and Räikkönen. The gap ebbed and flowed all the way to the finish but in the end Montoya was able to stay ahead.
Behind them interest focused on Ralf Schumacher's pursuit of Alonso, and the Spaniard was not about to crack under the pressure and so at the final stops Alonso was able to beat Ralf. It helped that they had Takuma Sato between them for much of the final part of the race and it was only three laps from the finish that Ralf finally managed to get ahead of the BAR.
One might have expected a big show from Michael Schumacher but his car was difficult to handle (it was a spare after his crash on Saturday) and early in the race he had a spin in the wet and that did him in. He was able to claw his way to seventh place by the finish but he was never really a big threat. The Ferraris looked decidedly ordinary after a season of total domination.
Elsewhere in the field there was a sad ending for the story of Jaguar Racing when on lap 24 Christian Klien misjudged where Mark Webber was going to be and carved straight into his team mate. Webber's car was damaged and could not rejoin and the Australian spent the rest of the afternoon sitting on the hillside watching the car he will drive next season being driven to victory by the man he will replace. Over at McLaren they enjoyed watching their two 2005 drivers running 1-2 but there was an element of sadness as Coulthard's race faded to 11th by the finish.
- Michael Schumacher qualified eighth but was demoted ten places because of an engine change. The engine was damaged in a crash during practice.
Standings after the raceEdit
Drivers' Championship standingsEdit
|5||Juan Pablo Montoya||58|
Constructors' Championship standingsEdit
- Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
- Bold text indicates the World Champions.