British Grand Prix 2002 - a look back 15 Jul 2003
In stereotypical fashion it was the weather that dominated last year's British Grand Prix. The constantly changing track conditions made for a race full of incident as the teams were forced to rapidly adapt their strategies in line with the fickle English climate.
As was so often the case in 2002, it was Ferrari who made the best calls. Tactical excellence combined with the superior pace of the F2002 saw Michael Schumacher take a comfortable 60th career win, with Rubens Barrichello coming home second to ensure a one-two for the world champions.
Barrichello provided much of the race's entertainment after he stalled on the formation lap and was forced to fight his way back through the field. Such was the Brazilian's pace that by lap 20 he had gone from the back of the grid to second position. He lost that place briefly to Juan Pablo Montoya, thanks to the Williams driver making one less stop, but regained it with a dramatic move that saw the pair touching wheels through Copse.
Montoya had started from pole and led in the opening stages. However, once the rain set in there was little he could do to stay with the Ferraris and he had to settle for third. Team mate Ralf Schumacher came home outside the points in eighth after one disastrously long pit stop, caused by a fuel-rig problem.
McLaren also fell prey to the weather and fuel-rig dramas. Poor pit-stop strategy meant that both David Coulthard and Kimi Raikkonen spent too much of the race on the wrong choice of tyre. The Scot finished down in tenth, while his team mate retired late in the race with mechanical problems.
In stark contrast, BAR had an excellent home race and celebrated their first points of the season, with both Jacques Villeneuve and Olivier Panis scoring in fourth and fifth places respectively, albeit a lap down on the three leaders. Nick Heidfeld took the final Silverstone point for Sauber, with rookie team mate Felipe Massa putting in a spectacular, if erratic drive, for ninth.
Ferrari's one-two finish widened the already gaping chasm between themselves and the opposition at the head of the constructors' table and also set Michael Schumacher up to secure the drivers' title at the next round in France.
How much difference a year can make, though. Going into this season's British Grand Prix Ferrari have just a three-point margin over Williams, with McLaren also still firmly in the running. And in the drivers' championship, Michael Schumacher, Kimi Raikkonen, Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya are all in real contention for the 2003 title. A riveting race is in prospect.