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Ralf crashes out, Montoya disqualified 20 Jun 2004

Ralf Schumacher (GER) Williams BMW FW26 crashes at turn 13.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, United States Grand Prix, Race Day, Indianapolis, USA, 20 June 2004

It all goes wrong again for Williams

With their cars in fifth and sixth position on the grid for the United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis the Williams team looked to have put the disaster of Canada firmly behind them.

Yet the American race proved nearly as much of a disappointment for the Grove-based team. The race had barely restarted after debris from the first-lap crash was cleared before Ralf Schumacher was involved in an enormous accident.

He lost control of his Williams after a left-rear puncture heading into the final turn, span and hit the concrete wall on the outside of the track backwards at very high speed - his car eventually coming to rest next to the pitwall. Racefans held their breath as the German stayed almost motionless in his car - but the medical team led by Professor Sid Watkins was quickly on the scene and Ralf was extracted and sent to hospital where it was confirmed he had suffered nothing worse than bruising. He will be kept in overnight as a precautionary measure.

Meanwhile, after the final round of pitstops Montoya looked set for a strong finish - chasing the Ferraris of Schumacher and Barrichello hard in third place. But with just 15 laps to go before the end of the race the luckless Colombian was black flagged for what was described as a breach of article 85 of the FIA sporting regulations - joining the race in a spare car after the driver had not left the grid within 15 seconds of the start.

The baptism of fire for Williams' new Technical Director, Sam Michael, continues.