Monday, July 12, 2004

Formula One: What The Papers Had To Say…

One of the best articles on the web about the race yesterday; link'ed below and text copied under it.

Formula One news, fun, results and features from

What The Papers Had To Say…
Monday July 12 2004
Prior to the British GP it looked like local boy Jenson Button or Kimi Raikkonen could be in with a chance of grabbing victory at Silverstone, but on race day, it once again turned into the Schumi and Ferrari show. Here's what the papers had to say…

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'From pole position Raikkonen took off as if he was running on fuel vapour only, building a three-and-a-half-second lead by the end of the opening lap...Schumacher watched all this from fourth place initially, content to bide his time and doubtless chuckling into his helmet. He knew that he was on a two-stop strategy and that he could stay close enough when it mattered, and after his rivals headed for the pits for their first of three stops, he took the lead and stayed out on track until lap 15.

'Even at this early stage it was clear that the race, as such, was over. As Button began a slow fade out of contention, Raikkonen kept up the pressure, with Barrichello hounding him. And as the revised McLaren's new fuel load was depleted the Finn drew closer again to Schumacher. It was clear, however, that the Ferrari would be able to go longer before refuelling.

'Four stops in France; two in Britain. Frankly, Ferrari could have sent him into Towcester for a Big Mac and fries for the crew, and he'd still have won.' - The Independent.

'The fans who had flocked to Silverstone wanted a Jenson Button victory.

'But they came away satisfied having witnessed Michael Schumacher, the greatest racer on earth, at his ultimate best.

'The Ferrari superstar has been accused of making the sport boring. But the excitement comes from seeing him win under any situation.

'One British journalist is hoping Schumacher remains invincible because he wrote earlier in the season he would run round Silverstone naked if McLaren won a race this year. Dennis said: “I expect him to keep his word.”

'The naked truth is that Schumacher’s current form may just spare the hack’s blushes.' - The Sun.

'Formula one is a world of disguise and deception. For these people concealing the truth is a way of life. Most of them are so steeped in the habit that you cannot even get a straight answer to a question about what they had for breakfast, never mind their race strategy. And even by the general standards of the sport, Schumacher has always been a master of the
straight face and the deflecting response. He was at his best at Silverstone yesterday, in more than one sense.

'France a week earlier he had stupefied the opposition by stopping four times and winning. Yesterday it looked as though he and Ross Brawn, Ferrari's technical director, had achieved such strategic mastery that they could play games with their opponents' expectations.' - The Guardian.

'But amid the shambles of political infighting and incompetent rule-making that Formula One is becoming, the crushing dominance of the world champion has become another symbol of the malaise that grips the sport.

'When it gets to the point where Schumacher is spinning his Ferrari on purpose to slow himself down - as he did in pre-qualifying on Saturday - grand prix racing knows it is in big, big trouble.

'He and his team are so far ahead of the rest that Formula One is becoming a parody of a competitive sport. Schumacher's the best and getting better.' - The Daily Mirror.

'Kimi Raikkonen was really there, a McLaren driver on a grand prix podium for the first time since last year's Japanese Grand Prix. This was tremendous news for the squad in silver, tremendous news too for neutral fans of the sport. Schumacher's domination so far this season has been attributable partly to the skill of the German and his engineers, but also to the comparative weakness of the other teams.

'The new vehicle showed promise at the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours, where Raikkonen and Coulthard were still feeling their way with it. But at Silverstone the car has been a revelation, instantly propelling Raikkonen back to the front of the grid where he belongs.

'But do not break out the bunting and bubbly just yet. Were it not for Jarno Trulli's accident and the subsequent safety car interlude, Schumacher would have finished yesterday's race half a minute ahead of Raikkonen instead of a handful of seconds. But the Finn would still have finished second, a placing earned entirely on merit.

'Raikkonen said: "It's a nice feeling to be back racing for first place."

'That's a nice feeling for the spectators, as well. The doom-mongers would have it that Schumacher's dominance is murdering the sport, that the television audience is switching off in droves. But consultation with paying spectators yesterday produced only positives: people are quite happy to watch a great driver beating the others, as long as the others are getting close.' - The Daily Telegraph.

'Britain's summer run of magnificent failure extended to Silverstone yesterday as the nation’s new motor racing hero managed only fourth place in the British Grand Prix. Alongside the names of Henman and Beckham, Dallaglio and Vaughan, write that of Jenson Button as the next plucky Brit to suffer crushing defeat at the hands of an imperious foreigner.

'...Barrichello is no threat to the six-times champion as he showed yesterday, coming home meekly in third place after Ferrari put him on a strategy designed to back up Schumacher. With Barrichello’s assault effectively suppressed, the German could wrap up the championship at Ferrari’s home grand prix in Monza — three races from Silverstone — and still have four races left in which to parade his considerable talent. That will leave the rest to scrap for second place, a position that might be beyond Button and a fading BAR-Honda that simply did not have the speed to combat either Ferrari or the McLaren-Mercedes of Kimi Räikkönen.

'Unlike Henman or Beckham, at least time is on Button’s side. And Schumacher has to retire some time. Formula One can only hope it is sooner rather than later.' - The Times