Monday, Jul 08, 2002
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Racing : Motor
ONE MORE TO THE KITTY: Ferrari's German driver Michael Schumacher jumps up on the podium after winning the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, his seventh of the season, on Sunday. Schumacher won the race ahead of team-mate Rubens Barrichello of Brazil and Williams' Juan Pablo Montoya of Colombia. Reuters
SILVERSTONE, (England), July 7. Michael Schumacher proved again he's the best in the damp as he won Sunday's British Grand Prix for his seventh victory of the season and the 60th of his record-breaking career.
Starting from the No. 3 spot on the grid, Schumacher overtook pole sitter Juan Pablo Montoya on the 16th lap as a mist turned to showers with the German's tires gripping better than Montoya's.
Schumacher's Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello, who was forced to start from last on the grid after stalling on the formation lap from the No. 2 spot, scrambled to second with Montoya grabbing third.
With the rain letting up, the 60-lap race finished in the dry with fourth place for BAR Honda's Jacques Villeneuve followed by teammate Olivier Panis and Nick Heidfeld of Sauber.
They were the first points for Villeneuve, the '97 season champion, since last year's Italian Grand Prix.
The victory gave Schumacher 86 points in 10 races with seven remaining, a massive 54-point gap over Barrichello (32) and Montoya (31). Ferrari leads the constructors' race with 118 points to 61 for Williams and 37 for McLaren.
Schumacher could clinch a record-tying fifth series title in two weeks in the French Grand Prix if he comes away with a point lead of at least 60.
That would match Juan Manuel Fangio's record of five, all picked up in the 1950s.
Failing there he could do it two week later in the German Grand Prix.
``With the car we have, with the package we have we are feeling confident,'' Schumacher said looking ahead Mangy Cours for the French. ``Mangy Cours is a very particular circuit ... but I'm looking forward to the opportunity and the chance to win it.''
It was only the second victory in the British Grand Prix for Schumacher, who also won in a disputed finish in 1998 with McLaren winning the next three including Mika Hakkinen last year.
``They (fans) haven't had many times to celebrate with me, so I'm glad they enjoyed it,'' Schumacher said.
Only 11 of the 21 cars finished the race with a winning time of 1 hour 31 minutes 45.015 seconds for Schumacher.
It was the third time this season the dominating Ferraris have been 1-2.
It proved to be a bad day for brother Ralf Schumacher in a Williams, who managed only eighth place.
David Coulthard also had a miserable day for McLaren, finishing a poor 10th. Coulthard won here in 1999 and 2000.
Trying to choose tires in the off-and-on rain caused confusion and a dozen spinouts with the tires being more important than driving or engine power.
Barrichello stalled on the pre-race formation lap and was forced to start from the back of the grid instead of alongside pole sitter Montoya, who was starting from his fourth straight pole. AP
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