Ferrari have clinched their fourth successive constructors' championship with a faultless performance at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Rubens Barrichello took his third career win, just ahead of Michael Schumacher, in a one-two finish for the Italian team.
Barrichello started from pole and was never headed around the Hungaroring. Ralf Schumacher finished a distant third for Williams ahead of the two McLarens of Kimi Raikkonen and David Coulthard, and Giancarlo Fisichella's Jordan.
Barrichello had Schumacher close behind him for the entire 77 laps but the world champion was unable to find a way past, either on track or during their two scheduled pit stops, which saw him narrowly retain his lead both times. Barrichello was delighted with his second win of the year, which moves him into second place in the driver standings.
"The most important thing is to have clinched the constructors' title for the team," he said afterwards. "Michael has said so many times how good they (Ferrari) are, and how good we are together. We had a great car, great team, great pit stops, great everything today!"
On the Ferrari pair's apparent decision to hold station he added: "It's not a rule but when you have a situation like that you just want to concentrate and bring it home. We had the best car out there and after a point we just wanted to bring it home."
Meanwhile, Schumacher admitted he was fortunate not to lose second place at the start when he was challenged by his brother. "It was not very pleasant to try and start from the position I did (the dirty side of the track), it felt like I started on ice. I was lucky to stay where I was.
The world champion, who out of the blue set the fastest lap of the race on lap 72 (a 1.16.207), said he was happy with second place and that he enjoyed the race: "There was no intention (of finding a way past Barrichello). I was just having fun, and it (his fastest lap) wasn't a series of laps, it was just one lap, and then I came home."
For Ralf Schumacher it was a lonely race in third. After failing to get past his brother down the inside of the first corner he was powerless to stop the scarlet cars romping away, leaving him unchallenged for the final podium position.
"It was kind of boring," he said. "To be honest we didn't expect to be third here. The team did a great job, all pit stops were brilliant. I was very happy.
"My tyres came in and I was pushing the whole race. The problem here is lapping people, you are being held up for quite a bit of time even if the gap looks quite big. I don't know why but you seem to lose a bit of time."
In contrast to Ralf, Williams team mate Juan Pablo Montoya had a poor afternoon. A bad start dropped him from fourth to seventh on lap one and he then lost out in a clash with Raikkonen on lap 23. The pair were side-by-side around Turn 2 after a mistake from the Colombian allowed Raikkonen to get a run on him.
Montoya refused to give way, but was eventually forced wide, running over the gravel and damaging his car. He lost three places instantly and was then forced to pit early to have broken bodywork pulled from his chassis. He rejoined in 12th and eventually finished 11th.
Raikkonen's move on Montoya was just part of another fine drive from the young Finn. Both he Coulthard proved McLaren's race pace to be far superior to their disappointing qualifying speed, which had put them 11th and 10th on the grid respectively.
Raikkonen made a strong start, moving up to eighth place on lap one, while Coulthard survived a clash with Sauber's Nick Heidfeld. Late pit stops for both McLaren men ultimately saw them leapfrog Fisichella and Felipe Massa's Sauber to clinch fourth and fifth.
The Hungaroring proved worthy of its reputation as being a difficult circuit for overtaking, with few real passing moves. Massa just missed out on a point in seventh, despite pressuring Fisichella for much of the race. Similarly, Sauber team mate Heidfeld had to settle for ninth after failing to find a way past the Renault of Jarno Trulli, whose poor start had dropped him from sixth to ninth on the opening lap.
Takuma Sato claimed the final top ten spot after setting some impressive and consistent times. However, starting from 14th on the grid meant he was never able to join Jordan team Fisichella in challenging for points.
Olivier Panis eventually came home in 12th after a disastrous first few laps which saw him drop to 19th place. He at least fared better than BAR team mate Jacques, who pulled off the pit straight to retire on lap 22. "I think it was the hydraulics, but I don't know," said the Canadian. "The car just stopped."
Toyota's Mika Salo emerged the winner in a long battle with the Jaguar of Pedro de la Rosa, the pair finishing in 13th and 14th respectively. They came in together for their second pit stops and de la Rosa nearly ran into the rear of the Toyota as they exited. They again came close to contact on lap 64 out on track, but Salo retained the advantage.
Salo's team mate Allan McNish finished 15th in the second Toyota, while Jaguar's Eddie Irvine was forced to retire with technical problems on lap 25. "It's been misfiring and that's it," was his only comment.
Minardi's Mark Webber was the final finisher in 16th place after his new team mate Anthony Davidson spun out at Turn 9 on lap 62. It was a disappointing end to the BAR tester's first GP weekend after he had driven consistently throughout the race.
Davidson's old karting rival Jenson Button also ended his day in the gravel after losing the back end of his Renault at Turn 13, while coming under pressure from Raikkonen on lap 34.
Conditions were fine throughout the afternoon in Hungary, with track temperatures of around 30°C. Ferrari's one-two result means they now have a 77 point lead over Williams, thus assuring them of the constructors' crown.
In the driver standing's Barrichello moves into second place on 45 points, five clear of both Ralf Schumacher and Montoya, who are locked together on 40, eight clear of Coulthard. Barrichello must now be favourite for the runner-up spot and he said he was already looking forward to the next race in Belgium in two week's time.
"It is one of best races of year and I am sure we are going to have good race," he said. "I will try to do a good job all over again."