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Two-stoppers help Bridgestone to season best 10 May 2004

Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Sauber Petronas C23.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Barcelona, Spain, 7 May 2004

Two-stop race strategies for Ferrari’s Rubens Barrichello and both Sauber drivers helped Formula One tyre supplier Bridgestone to their best result of 2004 in Spain on Sunday.

Ferrari used a duel strategy to clinch their third one-two finish of the year in Barcelona, with Michael Schumacher making three stops on his way to victory. Barrichello, meanwhile, was one of only three men to stop just twice as he followed his team mate home.

“Our tyres worked extremely well for our teams this afternoon,” said Hisao Suganuma, Bridgestone Motorsport’s Technical Manager. “They were consistent, fast and enabled the Ferrari drivers to pull out a significant gap ahead of their rivals. And this was true of Sauber too. They took a different strategy and the consistent tyre performance assisted their race performance. Rubens' two stop strategy, in particular, worked very well because our tyre degradation is small in comparison to our rival's."

Sauber saw Giancarlo Fisichella finish seventh to give the Swiss team their best result of the year, while Felipe Massa narrowly missed out on a point as he came home ninth, immediately ahead of the two McLarens.

"It was an unusual pitstop strategy today because when we did our race preparation we saw that the pace was very consistent,” said Sauber’s Technical Director Willy Rampf. “We benefited from good race pace [today]. The Bridgestone tyres were very consistent which was pleasing given the heavy fuel [load] and Felipe put in some good lap times. Overall our strategy worked perfectly and to do this we needed consistent tyres and the predictions were exactly what Bridgestone evaluated on Friday."

Bridgestone’s rivals Michelin again had to concede defeat to Ferrari, but drew consolation from taking five of the eight point-scoring positions, with the Renaults of Jarno Trulli and Fernando Alonso leading the way in third and fourth.

“We saw the strength of our main rival today, but from a technical perspective we have drawn a number of positives from the weekend,” said Michelin motorsport director Pierre Dupasquier. “Renault and BAR-Honda had a strong race pace and the dry-weather options we brought to this event have been well suited to the conditions. They were extremely consistent and, despite this being the toughest track of the season on tyres, the wear rate was absolutely normal. Now we are going away to prepare for Monaco, where we will be chasing our third consecutive victory.”

The Monaco Grand Prix, the sixth round of the 2004 FIA Formula One World Championship, takes place on May 20-23.