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Newz Forum: AUTO: Schumacher wins the US Grand Prix

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posted on Jun, 20 2004 @ 04:49 PM
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Michael Schumacher used power to pass teammate Rubens Barrichello early, skill to hold him off at the midway point and then pulled away from the field to win Sunday's U.S. Grand Prix, his eighth win in nine tries this season.

Schumacher avoided trouble in a race marred by crashes and cruised to a 2.9-second victory over Barrichello on the 13-turn, 2.605-mile road course. Japan's Takuma Sato was third, 22 seconds off the pace.

After struggling all weekend with the car's handling, the only challenge Schumacher had Sunday was deciding when to make his moves. Barrichello and Schumacher, teammates for Ferrari, started one-two and the German wasted no time in testing the pole winner.

Schumacher darted inside heading into the first turn, but Barrichello moved down on the track, cutting off Schumacher to retain the lead. It lasted just five laps. When the race restarted after a five-car crash in the second turn of the race, Schumacher again tried an inside move coming out of turn 13 and this time raced Barrichello, a Brazilian, wheel-to-wheel down the straightaway. Barrichello couldn't him hold off this time.

Barrichello regained the lead when the Schumacher pitted on lap 42. Eight laps later, Barrichello pitted, giving Schumacher the lead again. As Barrichello tried to pass Schumacher in three consecutive turns on lap 52, Schumacher cut him off each time, sometimes getting dangerously close to his teammate. Schumacher then pulled away for his third win in five starts at Indianapolis.

The BMW Williams team again struggled Sunday.

First, Juan Pablo Montoya's car wouldn't start. Montoya, a Colombian, was pushed into the pits and surrendered his No. 5 starting spot before the green flag even waved. Then Montoya's teammate, Ralf Schumacher, lost control on the 10th lap. His car spun twice coming out of turn 13, then slammed hard into the outside wall before stopping in the straightaway. Schumacher stayed in the car for several minutes as track workers freed him. Schumacher, Michael's brother, was taken to Methodist Hospital for further examination.

On lap 58, Montoya was black-flagged for starting the race in a spare car -- the car he normally uses wasn't starting -- and not beginning the race within 15 seconds of when the green flag dropped. He also ignored his team's instructions to return to the garage. It was the second time in two weeks the Williams team did not score points. Last week both cars were disqualified for using illegal front brake ducts at the Canadian Grand Prix.

The Williams team wasn't the only one having problems.

As Schumacher and Barrichello battled for the lead, sometimes side-by-side and nearly touching, the rest of the drivers simply tried to stay out of trouble.

It wasn't easy.

Austria's Christian Klien ran into the back of Brazil's Felipe Massa, starting a four-car crash on the second turn. Italy's Gianmaria Bruni and Giorgio Pantano, Massa and Klien were all knocked out of the race before completing a lap and Cristiano da Matta, another Brazilian, had to pit twice because of damage to his car. Da Matta dropped out on lap 18 when his car stopped on the track.

The crashes continued. On the ninth lap, a right rear tire puncture sent Spain's Fernando Alonso into the outside wall and crashing through some signs on the track.

But Schumacher and Barrichello survived the crashes and battled hard on lap 52, nearly touching twice as Schumacher cut off Barrichello's attempts to pass.


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