The 2004 French Grand Prix was held on 4 July 2004 at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, a motor racing circuit located in central France, making it the home race of the Renault Sport Formula One Team, which, inevitably, had great expectations in front of its local fanbase.
Fernando Alonso started the race from pole-position after an impressive performance in qualifying on Saturday, managing to beat Michael Schumacher’s time by +0.273. However, the Scuderia Ferrari legend had won eight out of the nine races in that season and did not have any intention to end the winning streak, despite the fact that the Renault car seemed extremely competitive on the French circuit and Fernando Alonso was already on top of his level.
Overtaking has always been very difficult on the Magny-Cours circuit and Alonso found himself in a good position after the start, so the Italian side immediately analyzed the situation and came up with an ideal solution to once again overcome its opponents. The Scuderia did not stick to the normal race plan, Race Strategist Luca Baldesserri suggesting the idea of a four pit-stop strategy instead, which Michael was more than happy to try. Schumacher’s amazing qualities of recording unbelievable fast laps in clean air and with low fuel loads once again proved to be exceptional, as the German driver won the race more than eight seconds ahead of a defenseless Fernando Alonso, who could only watch at how an unprecedented four-stop strategy was executed with masterly accuracy by the Ferrari’s word champion.
The Scuderia’s perfect weekend was completed by Rubens Barrichello, as the Brazilian driver started from tenth on the grid, but managed to finish on the podium, after a close battle with Jenson Button (BAR-Honda) and Jarno Trulli (Renault). Rubens squeezed his car up the inside at the very final corner of the last lap, his successful maneuver granting Scuderia Ferrari an impressive double podium finish and another triumphant weekend over the Renault team.