Red one-two and a Jordan podium as Michelin withdraw
The US Grand Prix began to go wrong when all of the 14 Michelin runners came into the pits at the end of the green flag lap, leaving only Michael Schumacher on pole position from Ferrari team mate Rubens Barrichello, the two Jordans of Tiago Monteiro and Narain Karthikeyan, and the two Minardis of Christijan Albers and Patrick Friesacher in front of the shocked 130,000 crowd.
After Ralf Schumachers left rear tyre failure on Friday afternoon, Michelin advised their runners that they could not guarantee their tyres for the race. Several ideas were mooted and the Michelin teams agreed to let the Bridgestone runners start ahead of them on the grid and to forego any championship points provided a chicane was erected in Turn 13.
However, the FIA had already stated that changing the track layout was not an option, informing Michelin that their teams could either use their existing tyres and run more slowly through 13, make tyre changes on safety grounds if necessary, or they could start with new tyres and risk being penalised for breaking the regulations.
At the start of the six-car race, Schumacher duly jumped ahead of Barrichello, with Monteiro third and Albers momentarily ousting Karthikeyan for fourth before the Jordan driver asserted himself.
Barrichello made the first of two stops on lap 24, but Schumachers stop a lap later occupied 16.8s as a left rear tyre had been damaged by a bottle thrown on to the track by an irate spectator and had to be checked. Barrichello thus led and kept the initiative until his next stop on lap 49.
Again Schumacher stopped a lap later, but this time he was at the end of the pit lane exit, where it feeds into Turn 1, at the very moment that Barrichello arrived there. The Brazilian was obliged to run off the road to avoid a collision, and after that the result was sealed.
Monteiro ran third throughout, with Karthikeyan, Albers and three-stopping Friesacher spread out.
Since nobody else went far enough to be classified, they were the only points scorers, and the race matched the 1961 Dutch Grand Prix as the only one in which all starters have finished.
Schumachers 10 point haul brings him up to third, behind Fernando Alonso on 59, and Kimi Raikkonen on 37. Barrichello moves to fourth, ahead of Jarno Trullis 27, with 29. Ferrari rise to joint second in the team standings on 63 points.