German Grand Prix 2002 - a look back 30 Jul 2003
Last year's German race was the first at the heavily-revised Hockenheim circuit. Gone was much of the famous forest stretch, in its place an enhanced arena section, designed to add to the venue's spectating experience. Though the purists complained that the track had lost its character, the fans turned out in their thousands to see local hero and newly-crowned five-time champion, Michael Schumacher.
And he did not disappoint, dominating the entire weekend, taking pole position, race victory and fastest lap in the all-conquering Ferrari F2002. Qualifying was an all- Schumacher affair, as Ralf in the Williams pushed his brother all the way before narrowly losing out on pole position. Behind them were respective team mates Rubens Barrichello and Juan Pablo Montoya.
In the race Michael was rarely troubled at the front and led for all but five of the 67 laps. Ralf had looked set to be his closest challenger, but could eventually only finish third after a late unscheduled stop to repair a hydraulics glitch. His problems were compounded mid-race by Renault's Jarno Trulli, who was less than cooperative when Ralf came up to lap him (the Italian was subsequently given a drive-through penalty for his indiscretion).
The beneficiary of Ralf's misfortune was Montoya, who moved into second place after his team mate's late stop. Barrichello also had his share of bad luck. The Brazilian was forced to start in the spare after last-minute transmission problems with his race car, and then suffered two slow stops due to fuel filler difficulties.
The man to experience most drama, however, was arguably Kimi Raikkonen. After qualifying fifth the McLaren driver made a great start to pass Montoya and had run as high as third before an exploding rear tyre threw him off the track. The Finn recovered, but then spun off on lap 59 while trying to charge back up the order. It was left to David Coulthard to retain the team's honour and finish fifth, albeit a lap down on Schumacher.
Sauber's Nick Heidfeld clinched the final point for sixth place after winning a thrilling battle with rookie team mate Felipe Massa. Behind them Jordan's Takuma Sato and Toyota's Mika Salo were the only other finishers, as Hockenheim, even in revised format, retained its reputation as a car breaker.
To see the race in pictures click here