2004 Monaco Grand Prix
One of the most eventful races of the 2004 season, the Monaco Grand Prix saw Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher qualify in fourth place (his time was actually fifth best; his brother Ralf qualified second, but was dropped ten places as a penalty for changing engines). Italian Renault driver Jarno Trulli took his first pole position and made it his first race win, breaking the elder Schumacher's streak of race wins.
The race began with Trulli on pole and BAR's Jenson Button behind; Renault's Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher occupied the second row. After two aborted starts (Olivier Panis stalled his Toyota and Trulli's Renault leaked coolant onto the track) the parade lap began; Panis stalled again and started the race from the pits. As the race began, BAR's Takuma Sato made an excellent start, moving from eighth to fourth in seconds. Presently Sato's engine began smoking; on the third lap, it exploded spectacularly and released an enormous cloud of smoke, in which Sauber's Giancarlo Fisichella collided with McLaren's David Coulthard and overturned. Both drivers were unhurt but out of the race, as was Sato.
Out came the yellow flags, and the race proceeded under the safety car until the eighth lap, at which point Alonso fought Trulli for the lead, followed by Button. When the race restarted, Juan Pablo Montoya moved past Rubens Barrichello to take sixth position, and Trulli set three consecutive fastest laps, but was only able to increase his lead to 1.2 seconds over Alonso. The leaders began their first pit stops on lap 18, and by Michael Schumacher's stop on lap 26, Trulli led from Alonso, with Schumacher now in third ahead of both Kimi Räikkönen and Button.
In an attempt to lap Ralf Schumacher, who was down in 11th position, Alonso got offline and crashed heavily in the tunnel. Alonso was enraged by this incident, and publicly accused Ralf of dangerous driving. The safety car was immediately deployed, and all of the front-runners (except Michael Schumacher and Montoya) took the opportunity to pit. As the safety car prepares to pit for the race restart, it is common for the lead driver to slow down, to bunch up the field and choose the opportunity to accelerate to the starting line. It is also common for drivers to swerve back and forth, accelerate and decelerate rapidly to impart heat into their brakes and tires. Montoya (who was a lap down) seemed to be watching his mirrors and not what was happening in front of him as they entered the tunnel. Schumacher suddenly slowed in the tunnel, Montoya swerved to the inside of the turn ran into the back of Schumacher, pushing the F2004 sideways and into the wall. This accident ended Schumacher's hopes for a sixth consecutive victory and a perfect season.
As the order settled down towards the end of the race, Trulli led from Button, with Barrichello in third. The top three were a lap in front of the rest of the field, and the only drivers with a chance of winning the race. Barrichello needed to pit with 22 laps remaining, and rejoined too far behind the top two in order to make a challenge. From then on, it was a straight fight between Trulli and Button, but Monaco is notoriously the hardest circuit to make a passing move on. Therefore, Button having no chance of passing, Trulli took the win by close to half a second.
|4||3||Juan Pablo Montoya||Williams-BMW||76||+1 Lap||9||5|
|5||12||Felipe Massa||Sauber-Petronas||76||+1 Lap||16||4|
|6||16||Cristiano da Matta||Toyota||76||+1 Lap||15||3|
|7||18||Nick Heidfeld||Jordan-Ford||75||+2 Laps||17||2|
|8||17||Olivier Panis||Toyota||74||+3 Laps||13||1|
|9||21||Zsolt Baumgartner||Minardi-Cosworth||71||+6 Laps||19|
- Lap Leaders: Jarno Trulli 72 (1-23, 26-42, 46-77), Fernando Alonso 1 (24) and Michael Schumacher 4 (25, 43-45)
- This was Jarno Trulli's first pole position and first victory in his career.
- This race marked the only retirement for Michael Schumacher in the season.
- Olivier Panis started this race from the pit lane.
- Both of the Jaguar Racing R5 cars ran with Ocean's Twelve and Steinmetz Diamonds livery to represent the upcoming film, Ocean's Twelve starring George Clooney and Brad Pitt, both of which were present at the Monaco Grand Prix along with other special guests such as Roger Moore. As Klien crashed in the first lap, the diamond was lost in the incident.