Williams' Montoya wins German Grand PrixPosted: Sunday August 03, 2003 9:41 AM
Updated: Sunday August 03, 2003 1:01 PM
HOCKENHEIM, Germany (AP) -- Juan Pablo Montoya won the German Grand Prix on Sunday, speeding away after a crash in the opening seconds took out three top contenders.
It was Montoya's third career Formula One victory, and second in 2003 after the Monaco Grand Prix on June 1. The Williams-BMW driver moved to second in the season standings.
David Coulthard of McLaren-Mercedes was second, more than a minute behind, and Renault's Jarno Trulli third. (Full Results)
Kimi Raikkonen, second in the season standings, Ralf Schumacher, winner of two of the previous three races, and Rubens Barrichello, the winner of the last race, were gone before the first lap was completed.
After reviewing tape of the race, stewards put the blame on Schumacher and ruled that he will be dropped 10 places in the starting grid from the position he qualifies for in his next Formula One race.
The accident happened before the first corner when Barrichello's Ferrari was squeezed in by Raikkonen's McLaren-Mercedes on the outside and Schumacher's BMW-Williams on the inside.
With less than four laps to go in the 67-lap race, season leader and five-time world champion Michael Schumacher had a flat in his Ferrari while in second place, and ended up seventh.
Schumacher has 71 points and Montoya 65 with four races to go. Raikkonen stayed at 62, his third race without a finish.
"We have come a long way since Monaco," Montoya said. "If Ralf hadn't gone off on the first corner, it might have been more difficult. But as a team we still dominated the race."
Since Monaco, Williams has won four races, finished second four times, and had four pole positions.
"I think it is turning out very good at the moment," he said. "Yes, let's score some points in the next few races. The next few races will be quite interesting but I think we should be very strong."
But, Montoya cautioned, "anything can go wrong for anyone."
Montoya ended 65.4 seconds ahead of Coulthard at the 4.57-kilometer (2.84-mile) Hockenheimring, which was extensively remodeled in 2002.
Renault's Fernando Alonso was fourth. Fifth and sixth were Toyota's duo of Olivier Panis and Cristiano da Matta.
Michael Schumacher changed his tire on his Ferrari and came in seventh, more than a lap behind. Jenson Button of BAR-Honda eighth.
With track temperatures nearing 50 C (122 F), the race was virtually decided in the opening seconds as Montoya surged ahead from the pole. Behind him, three contenders took each other out before the first curve.
Raikkonen's McLaren-Mercedes came up to the left side of Barrichello, and the Brazilian's Ferrari was squeezed in with Ralf Schumacher just ahead of him on the right side.
The Finn nipped Barrichello's front left tire and spun in front of him, and managed to damage Ralf Schumacher's Williams-BMW on the left side.
Raikkonen went off the track, hitting the tire barriers hard and losing his front tires. Raikkonen just missed the concrete section of the wall while Barrichello lost his left wheel.
Behind them Ralph Firman in a Jordan was involved in a collision with Heinz-Harald Frentzen's Sauber and Justin Wilson's Jaguar.
Barrichello went out immediately. Ralf Schumacher limped into the pits at the end of a lap. His crew took a look at the car, and Schumacher then got out of it, his race finished.
Raikkonen and Barrichello walked back to the pits.
The safety car came out while the debris and cars were cleared. Three laps later, the safety car came off and 14 cars resumed.
Montoya established himself in the lead, ahead of the two Renault drivers, Trulli and Alonso with Michael Schumacher fourth.
They stayed that way through the first pit stops. On the 32nd lap, Alonso skidded wide on a turn and went on the grass, allowing Michael Schumacher to move into third.
On the second pit stop Trulli and Michael Schumacher came in together, Trulli ahead. It stayed that way as the Renault crew didn't make any mistakes. They resumed in that order behind Montoya.
Montoya was lapping nearly a second faster than the field. By 54 laps, Montoya went in for his final pit stop and still had a lead of more than 40 seconds on Trulli.
"I couldn't believe it," Montoya said. "The team told me to back off, back off, and I was still pulling away.
"I tried to pace myself, I tried to be as consistent as ever."
Trulli was being challenged by Schumacher and Coulthard for second, all three within car lengths of each other.
On the 60th lap Schumacher made his move, first being forced wide on the hairpin curve. Yet Schumacher held on and passed Trulli as soon as he got back on the track.
A lap later at the same place, Coulthard passed Trulli and now it was Schumacher, Coulthard and Trulli behind Montoya.
"It was pretty much the same as Michael," Coulthard said. "He overtook him and I tried to brake at the same point. I was half on the grass and half on the track."
With less than four laps left, Schumacher slowed, his left rear tire going flat. He made it back to the pits but lost a lap and resumed in seventh place
"Until then, I thought he was so lucky and that his luck would run out someday. It was today," Montoya said.
After the race, Trulli needed water before climbing to the podium for the victory ceremony. Red Cross officials said more than 200 fans had been treated for heat-related problems.
"It was not exhausting during the race but when you stopped you don't have anything else to concentrate on," Coulthard said.