Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello achieved the first 1-2 victory for the new F2002 in Imola in a stunning demonstration of power of the new masterpiece from Rory Byrne who was, fittingly, present on the podium ceremony.
Ferrari started the 2002 F1 season with a revamped F2001, which was still very fast, but in hot conditions struggled against Williams on Michelin tyres and, as in 2001, weared its rear tyres too much.
Schumacher won with new F2002 at the third race in Brazil and was seven tenths faster in qualifying than Barrichello in F2001, and after another fight with Montoya, he managed to celebrate in his first appearance for the new car.
In the fourth race of the season in Imola, Barrichello also got a new F2002 and Ferrari convincingly locked the first row, although neither the car nor Bridgestone’s single-lap performance was the strongest weapon.
But the characteristics of the Imola circuit did suit their package, which is dominated by exits from slow corners and change of direction, as well as the colder weather all weekend.
Schumacher secured his 45th pole position in the F1 career in the final lap in which he entered in the final seconds of qualifying, and was faster than Barrichello for just 0.064 s.
Ferrari drivers left behind with two Williams drivers for four and five tenths and two McLarens for more than a second and last year’s winner, Ralf Schumacher, was able to overtake Barrichello at the start and stay in front of him for almost half the race, until the first pitstops for leading drivers.
Michael had a 17.3 second advantage over Ralf at the end of the lap 30 while Barrichello was constantly below the second behind his teammate’s younger brother. The Schumacher brothers entered the pits in the lap 31 and Barrichello one lap later which was enough to build a sufficient lead with a light car and get ahead of Ralf.
The Ferrari celebrated their first 1-2 win of the season in their first appearance with two new F2002s while Ralf finished third with 1.7 behind Barrichello, ahead of team-mate Montoya.
With this success, Ferrari paid back to their fans for a poor performance in 2001 when they started only fourth and sixth, Barrichello finished third with Schumacher retiring after 24 laps due to a suspension problem.
Button finished fifth for Renault from the ninth starting spot after finishing fourth in the last two races and McLaren’s Coulthard finished sixth and won the last point in this race.
Interestingly, due to a slightly worse start to the season and the later introduction of a new car, Ferrari only took the lead in the constructors’ standings after only the fourth race of the season, just three points ahead of Williams, though 2002 was one of the most dominant seasons for Ferrari in Formula One history (17 wins in 19 races).
Their F2002, with which Schumacher finished all races in first or second place and finished all races on podium in the 2002 F1 season, was defeated in only one race, at the Monaco GP where Coulthard celebrated in his McLaren MP4-17.
There are many reasons to be proud today,” said Schumacher who won his 56th F1 race.
“We failed here last year and now we have given something back to the tifosi. It was a special grand prix for me and I’m proud of the way it went. It was right that Rory Byrne should be on the podium.”
“He is unique, very motivated and a great person. I seem to have worked with him for most of my F1 career. Of course this result is not all down to him as it is a team effort but he is the main designer.”
“We did not expect to be so dominant today after a close qualifying and I thought the race might be more difficult. Bridgestone has produced a tyre that is more consistent and although the win was down to the whole package it was mainly due to the tyres.”
“We will enjoy a glass of champagne to celebrate with the whole team, but at this early stage in the season we are already thinking about the next race in Spain and we start testing again on Tuesday.”
|21||17||Pedro de la Rosa||Jaguar/Cosworth||1:24.852||3.761|
|6||3||David Coulthard||McLaren/Mercedes||61||1:29:11.698||1 lap|
|8||8||Felipe Massa||Sauber/Petronas||61||1:29:47.157||1 lap|
|9||14||Jarno Trulli||Renault||61||1:29:57.563||1 lap|
|10||7||Nick Heidfeld||Sauber/Petronas||61||1:30:03.588||1 lap|
|11||23||Mark Webber||Minardi/Asiatech||60||1:30:33.092||2 laps|
|(13)||17||Pedro de la Rosa||Jaguar/Cosworth||30||44:50.879||Halfshaft|
Fastest lap: Rubens Barrichello – 1:24.170 (lap 38)
DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP 4/17 RACES
|3||Juan Pablo Montoya||17||6||6||2||3|
|16||Pedro de la Rosa||0||–||–||–||–|