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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 May, 2004, 13:41 GMT 14:41 UK
Spanish joy for Schumacher
By Andrew Benson
Motorsport editor at the Spanish GP

RACE RESULT
Michael Schumacher celebrates his win in Spain
1 M Schumacher (Ferrari)
2 R Barrichello (Ferrari)
3 J Trulli (Renault)
4 F Alonso (Renault)
5 T Sato (BAR)
6 R Schumacher
(Williams)
7 G Fisichella (Sauber)
8 J Button (BAR)
Michael Schumacher equalled Nigel Mansell's record of five straight wins at the start of a Formula One season with victory at the Spanish Grand Prix.

Renault's Jarno Trulli led after a lightning getaway but Schumacher passed the Italian during the first pit stops and controlled the rest of the race.

The German beat Ferrari team-mate Rubens Barrichello by 13.2 seconds, with Trulli coming home in third.

Jenson Button took eighth from 14th on the grid, with David Coulthard in 10th.

A mistake in qualifying robbed Button of a potential front-row spot in his BAR but he finished in the points with a good drive.

The Englishman battled first with the McLarens of Coulthard and Kimi Raikkonen, whom he passed at the second stops, and then with the Sauber of Felipe Massa, who was dispensed at the third.

Takuma Sato, Button's team-mate, had hoped for a podium finish after qualifying in third but could not match the pace of the Renaults.

My reaction time wasn't due to the light - I released the clutch and at the same time the light came on and I was very lucky
Trulli on his amazing start

He was passed by Fernando Alonso at the second major set of pit stops and was untroubled on his way to fifth.

Ralf Schumacher inherited sixth place after team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya retired with brake failure on lap 46.

The German was followed home by Giancarlo Fisichella, who drove an impressive race on a two-stop strategy in his Sauber.

Michael Schumacher's win was never seriously in doubt - even after Trulli blasted into the lead from fourth place on the grid.

The world champion followed less than a second behind the Renault until Trulli stopped for fuel and tyres on lap nine.

Schumacher came in on the next lap and, despite taking a second longer in the pits, managed to get out just ahead of Trulli.

"I thought I had a good start, looked in my mirrors and suddenly saw Jarno coming up behind me," Schumacher said.

"At that time, I still had the option to close the door but with this much extra speed I thought it would not be very fair.

"I hoped with our car I would be able to get by somehow. It was close a couple of times on the straight, but really I had to wait for the strategy, which worked very well."

Trulli added: "The start was fantastic. It was right at the limit of a jump start.

"My reaction time wasn't due to the light - I released the clutch and at the same time the light came on and I was very lucky."

Schumacher suffered a broken exhaust just after the first stop but was still 17 seconds clear after the final pit stops.

I was trying to drive in a way that didn't make the problem worse
Schumacher says a broken exhaust threatened to deny him

Barrichello was the only man able to stay close to Schumacher.

The Brazilian qualified fifth but was carrying more fuel after adopting a two-stop strategy compared with Schumacher's three.

"To get the optimum strategy for both drivers was quite difficult because BAR was quite close," Barrichello said.

"Michael was a bit quicker so for me it made sense to try the longer strategy and get out of the traffic - I was so upset with the race in Imola.

"So I had the two options and I chose the other one and it worked nicely."

Trulli drove a strong race to stay ahead of Alonso, whose ability to run a consistently fast pace has often embarrassed the Italian.

The Spaniard tried all he could and had closed the gap to less than three seconds in the closing stages, but Trulli had just enough in hand to hold him off.




SEE ALSO
Coulthard admits concerns
09 May 04  |  Formula One
Schumacher relieved at win
09 May 04  |  Formula One
Button happy with point
09 May 04  |  Formula One


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