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Montreal 2004 - Ferrari's tactical triumph 07 Jun 2005

Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari F2004 leads Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Ferrari F2004.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, Race Day, Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal, Canada, 13 June 2004 Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari celebrates in parc ferme.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, Race Day, Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal, Canada, 13 June 2004 Formula One World Championship, Rd8, Race Day, Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal, Canada, 13 June 2004 Formula One World Championship, Rd8, Race Day, Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal, Canada, 13 June 2004 Ralf Schumacher (GER) Williams BMW FW26.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, Qualifying Day, Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal, Canada, 12 June 2004

Brain power and horsepower prove equally critical

Strategy was the key to last year’s Canadian Grand Prix, and, as was so often the case in 2004, it was Ferrari who got it right.

There may not have been too many passing moves around the Montreal circuit on Sunday afternoon, but tactically it was a thriller and there was even an unexpected twist hours after the chequered flag had fallen.

Friday’s and Saturday’s practice sessions showed little sign of a Williams revival, but all that changed in qualifying. The BMW-powered squad finished one-two in the pre-qualifier, with Ralf Schumacher leading the way from Juan Pablo Montoya, but when Jenson Button set a stunner for BAR in qualifying proper, a Williams pole seemed out of the question.

Ralf dug deep though, snatching it by less than a tenth from the Brit, with the rest of the field trailing in the distance, including the Ferraris of Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello down in sixth and seventh respectively.

By the end of Sunday, however, that P6 and 7 had been converted to P1 and 2, thanks largely to Ferrari’s excellent choice of a two-stop strategy. Their Williams and BAR rivals opted for three-stoppers, but the best that could do was put Ralf between the scarlet cars on the podium, and even that evaporated when Williams and Toyota were disqualified post race for illegal brake ducts.

The other team that may have challenged Ferrari, Renault, suffered their first double retirement of the year, allowing BAR to close to within nine points of their second place in the constructors’ standings.

The disqualifications brought good news for others too. Giancarlo Fisichella gave Sauber their best placing of the year with fourth, while McLaren overcame their reliability woes to bring both cars home in the points.

Jordan managed the same, with Timo Glock (standing in for Giorgio Pantano) scoring an unexpected two points on his Grand Prix debut as he finished seventh ahead of team mate Nick Heidfeld.

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