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Last Updated: Sunday, 10 October, 2004, 08:53 GMT 09:53 UK
Schumi storms to Japan win
Michael Schumacher celebrates a record 13th win in a season
1 M Schumacher (Ferrari)
2 R Schumacher (Williams)
3 J Button (BAR)
4 T Sato (BAR)
5 F Alonso (Renault)
6 K Raikkonen (McLaren)
7 JP Montoya (Williams)
8 G Fisichella (Sauber)
Michael Schumacher has won a record 13th race in a season with a crushing performance at the Japanese Grand Prix.

The world champion took pole position on a drying track in the first ever Sunday morning qualifying and stormed away to an unchallenged victory.

Ralf Schumacher won a strategic battle with Jenson Button's BAR-Honda to take second in his Williams-BMW.

David Coulthard was in the thick of that fight before a collision with Rubens Barrichello took both men out.

The Scot, who missed out on his best result of the season, and Button chose to make only two stops, while the two Schumacher brothers made three.

"For us it was pretty clear we would have a good race pace. I was pretty confident I could do it," said Michael Schumacher.

"We had to be flat-out until the pit-stops but we have dominated all year and I didn't expect anything different here. We were superb."

Button and Sato took BAR to the brink of second place in the championship
I went for the two stops because it worked pretty well for me in the last race
Jenson Button
But while Michael and Ralf Schumacher had more than enough pace to make a three-stop strategy work, it was not so successful for Button's team-mate Takuma Sato.

The Japanese qualified third behind the Schumachers, but lost a place to Button at the start.

The team ordered them to swap places to enable Sato to make the most of his strategy.

However, Sato was unable to make up enough time and he was not quite able to join in the battle for third place.

Button said: "I went for the two stops because it worked pretty well for me in the last race and I'm used to driving the car when it is pretty heavy (with fuel)."

Sato was set for fifth place before Coulthard's retirement with 14 laps to go promoted him to fourth.

Fernando Alonso drove a strong but unobtrusive race to fifth place in the Renault after qualifying 11th in a wet but drying session that led to a mixed grid and an intriguing race.

The Spaniard was initially held up by team-mate Jacques Villeneuve, who headed a queue that also included McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen, Williams' Juan Pablo Montoya and Barrichello.

Jacques Villeneuve holds off Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen, Juan Pablo Montoya, Olivier Panis and Rubens Barrichello early in the Japanese Grand Prix
Villeneuve held up a huge train of cars early on
Villeneuve continued to lack pace in his second race for Renault, and caused a bottleneck in the early laps.

Once clear of him, Montoya and Barrichello closed up on Jarno Trulli's Toyota, with Sauber's Giancarlo Fisichella joining the battle.

A move by Montoya on Trulli at the chicane on lap 23 led to him losing two places and Barrichello finally squeezing past to the head of the group.

But Montoya recovered to seventh place, behind Raikkonen, whose pace on a two-stop strategy leapfrogged him ahead of his future McLaren team-mate.

Fisichella completed the points scorers in eighth place.

Trulli dropped out of the picture as the race went on and finished 11th - three places ahead of team-mate Olivier Panis.

Report: BBC Five Live's Maurice Hamilton

Schumacher grabs Japan pole
10 Oct 04  |  Formula One

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