2002 Italian Grand Prix
|Race 15 of 17 in the 2002 Formula One season|
Autodromo Nazionale Monza (last modified in 2000)
|Date||15 September 2002|
|Official name||LXXIII Gran Premio Vodafone d'Italia|
|Location||Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy|
|Course||Permanent racing facility|
|Course length||5.793 km (3.600 mi)|
|Distance||53 laps, 306.719 km (190.586 mi)|
|Weather||Sunny, hot, dry 23°C|
|Time||1:23.297 on lap 36|
The 2002 Italian Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Monza on 15 September 2002. It was another dominating one-two finish for Ferrari, with Rubens Barrichello winning on a two-stop strategy, in front of his one-stopping team mate Michael Schumacher. Jaguar-Cosworth's Eddie Irvine finished third and also scored his final points.
Heading into the fifteenth race of the season, both the Drivers' Championship and Constructors' Championship were already settled, with Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher having claimed the Drivers' Championship four rounds earlier at the French Grand Prix. Ferrari secured the Constructors' Championship at the thirteenth round of the championship (the Hungarian Grand Prix) with their nearest rival Williams too many points behind to catch them.
After the Belgian Grand Prix on 1 September, all teams (except Arrows) conducted mid-season testing at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza between 3–6 September to prepare for the upcoming race at the circuit. Michael Schumacher was fastest on the first day, ahead of BAR test driver Anthony Davidson which was held in wet weather conditions, with intermittent dry spells. Ralf Schumacher set the fastest times on the second where the rain continued into the morning before stopping meaning the track dried up as the session progressed. The first full day of dry weather conditions was held on the third day where Pedro de la Rosa was the fastest driver. Rubens Barrichello was the fastest driver on the final day of testing. Juan Pablo Montoya caused a red flag to be shown when he lost control of his car at the Curva di Lesmo corners, and removed his front wing after colliding with the barrier.
Due to the configuration of the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, with its high average speed, the teams set up their cars to produce the minimum amount of downforce possible. Ferrari introduced a new qualifying-specification engine but the team installed a previous engine specification for the race on Sunday. Williams and BAR introduced revised engine specifications for the qualifying session and Renault debuted new front wings for the Grand Prix.
Practice and qualifying
Four practice sessions were held before the Sunday race, two each on Friday and Saturday. The Friday morning and afternoon sessions each lasted an hour; the third and fourth sessions, on Saturday morning, lasted 45 minutes each. Conditions were sunny and dry for the Friday practice sessions.
Saturday's afternoon qualifying session lasted for an hour. Each driver was limited to twelve laps, with the starting order decided by the drivers' fastest laps. During this session, the 107% rule was in effect, which necessitated each driver set a time within 107% of the quickest lap to qualify for the race. The Williams and Ferrari teams chose to experiment with tyre set-ups by using hard compound tyres with the aim of gaining better race performance. Montoya eclipsed the fastest lap speed recorded in Formula One (which was previously held by Keke Rosberg set at the 1985 British Grand Prix) to clinch his seventh pole position of the season with a time of one minute and 20.264 seconds. He felt his lap time was "pretty good" and gained a large amount of time at the Curva di Lesmo corners which contributed to a fast middle sector time. Montoya was joined on the grid's front row by Michael Schumacher who was 0.257 seconds off Montoya's pace and was happy with his lap time despite him taking time to get optium tyre temperature. Ralf Schumacher qualified third and reported making a mistake at Curva di Lesmo on his third timed run. Barrichello set his fastest lap time on his second timed run to secure fourth position. Räikkonen initially secured fifth place but collided with Sato (who was running on the inside line) at the Variante della Roggia chicane with two minutes of the session remaining causing the session to be suspended for seven minutes. Räikkönen (who on a timed lap after exiting the pit lane) was unable to improve his lap time and get into the spare car which was set-up for Coulthard because of the limited time available. Both drivers and their representatives were summoned by the stewards and after reviewing video evidence, they elected to delete Räikkönen's fastest lap time which moved him from fifth to sixth on the grid and Irvine inherited Räikkönen's former starting position. Irvine endured a difficult qualifying session: he was afflicted with an gear change problem on his first two runs, and later made a mistake on his third run before he was delayed by traffic on his fourth. Coulthard took seventh in the other McLaren and was frustrated because he struggled to gain optimum tyre temperature and lost time when he drove over the Variante della Roggia chicane kerb. de la Rosa took eighth and ran the spare Jaguar throughout but was afflicted with problems with his differential and his car misfired. Villeneuve secured ninth place and was frustrated as he felt he could have qualified in seventh because he made mistakes heading into the Variante Ascari and Curva Parabolica corners. Salo rounded out the top ten qualifiers and was happy with his car in race trim but his expectation was to qualify in a higher starting position.
Trulli improved his car on all of his timed laps and drafted off teammate Button on his fastest lap to secure eleventh place but lost time after running very closely behind Button heading into the Curva Parabolica corner. Fisichella had a strategy to run two timed laps but his final run disrupted because of the Räikkönen and Sato incident which restricted Fisichella to twelfth. He later said he hoped of a possibility to qualify tenth and was struggling for grip. He was ahead of McNish in the slower Toyota who was satisfied despite being delayed by traffic on his second run. McNish was in front of the two Saubers (with Massa ahead of Heidfeld); Massa used scrubbed tyres which provided him with more front-end grip on his first timed run but had a large amount of understeer after new tyres were installed on his car. More downforce was added to Massa's car for his final run. Heidfeld ran wide at Curva di Lesmo's exit on his final timed lap which prevented him from recording a faster lap time. Panis was sixteenth in the second BAR with Button sharing the eighth row in seventeenth. Despite the incident with Räikkonen Sato took eighteenth and said "That was the most difficult qualifying session of my career". Sato had also made driving mistakes meaning he could not set a representative lap time. The two Minardi cars lined up on the final row of the grid with Webber ahead of the returning Yoong; both Webber and Yoong were affected by the red-flag period and Yoong lost his final two timed laps as a consequence.
The race took place in the afternoon from 14:00 local time. The weather conditions on the grid were dry and sunny before the race; the track temperature ranged between 33–34 °C (91–93 °F). Ralf Schumacher switched to the spare Williams because his regular car developed an fuel pressure problem. As the five red lights went out to signal the start of the race, Montoya made a bad start as he narrowly avoided stalling and drove to the right to block Michael Schumacher. This allowed Montoya's teammate Ralf Schumacher (who made a good start and got ahead Michael Schumacher) to move into the lead and the two drivers were side-by-side on the main straight heading into the Variante chicane. Montoya ran wide to prevent a collision with Ralf Schumacher under braking and Schumacher drove over the chicane. Williams contacted FIA race director Charlie Whiting who replied that Ralf Schumacher was required to cede the lead back to Montoya. McNish made the best start in the field, moving from thirteenth to seventh by the end of the first lap, while Trulli made up four positions over the same distance. At the end of the first lap, the order of the top ten drivers was Ralf Schumacher, Montoya, Barrichello, Michael Schumacher, Räikkönen, Irvine, McNish, Salo, Panis and Villeneuve.
Ralf Schumacher began to pull away from Montoya. Further down the field Villenueve got ahead of Heidfeld to take over tenth, while Button passed Massa to move into thirteenth position and Yoong overtook teammate Webber for eighteenth. Ralf Schumacher set a new fastest lap, a 1:26.230 on lap three, but was later eclipsed by Barrichello. Villeneuve was overtaken by Trulli on the same lap and Webber reclaimed eighteenth from Yoong. Williams received a reply to order Ralf Schumacher to cede first position to Montoya which was relayed to Schumacher by the Senior Operations Engineer of Williams Sam Michael at the end of lap four. Afterwards Ralf Schumacher pulled over to the side of the track at the Variante chicane with smoke billowing from his engine and became the first retirement of the race at the start of lap five. His teammate Montoya thus temporarily inherited the lead but was blinded by the smoke, allowing Barrichello to move into the inside line, and after running in Montoya's slipstream, he passed the Williams driver for the lead under braking going into the Variante chicane.
|1||6||Juan Pablo Montoya||Williams-BMW||1:20.264||—|
|8||17||Pedro de la Rosa||Jaguar-Cosworth||1:21.960||+1.696|
|11||24||Mika Salo||Toyota||52||+1 Lap||10|
|12||10||Takuma Sato||Jordan-Honda||52||+1 Lap||18|
|13||22||Alex Yoong||Minardi-Asiatech||47||+6 Laps||20|
|Ret||6||Juan Pablo Montoya||Williams-BMW||33||Chassis||1|
|Ret||17||Pedro de la Rosa||Jaguar-Cosworth||15||Collision||8|
- Juan Pablo Montoya's pole position lap was, at the time, the fastest lap ever recorded by a Formula One car, with an average speed of 259.827 km/h.
- At the start, Ralf Schumacher cut the chicane on the first corner of the first lap to take the lead from team mate Juan Pablo Montoya. When Ralf's engine blew up on lap 5, Montoya's view was blocked and Rubens Barrichello passed him for the lead. Soon, Montoya was passed by Michael Schumacher and stayed third until he retired with damage to the chassis of his car.
- This was the only race of the 2002 season that featured a car on the podium which was not a Ferrari, Williams or McLaren.
- This was the last podium of Eddie Irvine's career, and also the second, and last, podium for Jaguar.
Championship standings after the race
- Bold text indicates the World Champions.
- Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
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2002 Belgian Grand Prix
|FIA Formula One World Championship
2002 United States Grand Prix
2001 Italian Grand Prix
|Italian Grand Prix||Next race:
2003 Italian Grand Prix