The early 2000s was a glorious era, complete with bare bones racing and minimal FIA interference. During those times, drivers were not afraid to attack or defend from each other and there was plenty of wheel-to-wheel action. One exemplary race was the 2002 French Grand Prix at Magny Cours. The protagonists of this duel were Michael Schumacher, Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya.
In the 72-lap race, Montoya in the BMW Williams was on pole with Michael Schumacher alongside him. Rubens Barrichello qualified third with Kimi Raikkonen 4th in his maiden season with McLaren. Unfortunately, an ignition issue ruled out the Brazilian so the battle was between Schumacher, Raikkonen and Montoya.
At the start, the Colombian got a clean getaway with Michael Schumacher and Raikkonen hounding him. On the second lap, Schumacher attacked around the outside, only for Montoya to hold his line and keep the lead.
A front right lockup also brought in Kimi Raikkonen to the equation, as the Finnish driver went wheel-to-wheel with the Ferrari. The Ferrari won the short drag race and took back 2nd and tucked in behind the Colombian driver.
Michael Schumacher vs Kimi Raikkonen vs Juan Pablo Montoya
A few laps later, the status quo remained as all three drivers sized each other up and hunted for any chinks in the armor. Around the halfway stage, Montoya easily dispatched the Toyota of Allan McNish, but Schumi and Raikkonen were not so lucky.
Raikkonen was the first to catch McNish, having jumped Schumacher, but the German pulled a daring move. As Kimi Raikkonen moved to lap the Toyota, Schumacher took a page from Mika Hakkinen’s book and tried to squeeze in between them.
Sadly the move failed and the defending champion had to think of another idea, but Raikkonen defended like his life depended on it.
Eventually, Michael Schumacher took the win ahead of Raikkonen and his teammate David Coulthard. Meanwhile, Montoya’s early heroics faded and he eventually finished 4th.