As race day dawned, the sun finally shone over the capacity crowd in Britain's home of motorsport, Silverstone, and the fans geared up for the prospect of two charging drivers making their way up the field; both Raikkonen and Schumacher would be starting from the middle of the grid in 12th and ninth places, respectively.
The first intrigue came when Takuma Sato's Honda was pushed in to the pits before the lights changed. Meanwhile, at the start, Juan Pablo Montoya made an aggressive move on Fernando Alonso on entry to the second corner to take the race lead, while Raikkonen made an impressive start to come up from 12th to eighth before the safety car was deployed for one lap on the first lap to protect Sato's stranded car.
The front runners all held position without drama until lap six, when an anxious Raikkonen attempted to hustle his way further up the field and past Schumacher. Moving out from behind the Ferrari, the McLaren driver went past his usual braking point and narrowly avoiding an impact with the Shell-powered car to leave Schumacher in seventh place.
With Montoya in front followed by Alonso, Jenson Button, Barrichello, Giancarlo Fisichella, Jarno Trulli, Schumacher, Raikkonen and Ralf Schumacher completing the top eight, the pit stops for fuel would begin in earnest on lap 12. The first car to stop was Christian Klein in the Red Bull, with the Ferrari of Barrichello coming in on lap 18 to allow for a change of race strategy, from two stops to three stops, decided by the team during the Brazilian's first stint.
The pit stops all progressed with little drama until Jacque Villeneuve stopped in his Sauber. As he exited his pit area there had been a problem with his fuel hose and he knocked down his fuel man, delaying his progress by a few seconds.
With a different strategy to Barrichello, Schumacher came out of the race traffic on lap 25 to pit from fourth position, leaving with a clear track in front of him before Raikkonen made his first stop. The Finn had been running fast and it became apparent that he had a good strategy for position at the end of the race; he came in to fill up on lap 27 and rejoined in sixth place.
Barrichello had another rapid refuel on lap 33 to rejoin in seventh place and continue with his new race strategy. Shortly afterwards, on lap 40, Montoya stamped his authority on the race by taking the fastest race lap from Alonso.
A quick third stop on lap 46 enabled Barrichello to make his way to the finish just before the hard running Renault of Fisichella stalled in pits. He lost valuable seconds while his mechanics rushed to restart the stranded car only to have Schumacher appear on the same lap to pit for the second time on his own two-stop race strategy. Finally, the last of the front runners pitted as Alonso came in from the lead for a late 'splash and dash' (4.9 seconds) to come out just behind the leading Montoya.
After a day decided by pit stop strategy, Montoya was first to cross the line followed by Alonso, Raikkonen, Fisichella, then a disappointed Button in fifth, followed by Schumacher in sixth place, Barrichello in seventh and Ralf Schumacher rounding out the points in eighth.
Commenting on today's race, Michael Copson, Shell Formula One Technical Manager, said: 'Obviously it was a disappointing race. Rubens changed his strategy mid-race, demonstrating the flexibility of Shell V-Power fuel. On a nearly perfect day for racing our lubricants package performed faultlessly. We now look forward to improving our performance in Germany.'