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Last Updated:  Sunday, 23 March, 2003, 10:06 GMT
Raikkonen claims maiden win
Raikkonen celebrates after climbing out of his McLaren
Raikkonen was rarely under pressure after taking the lead
Kimi Raikkonen eased to his maiden Grand Prix victory in Malaysia after world champion Michael Schumacher made a costly error at the first corner.

An assured drive took the Finn to the top of the championship standings and gave McLaren their second win in a row following David Coulthard's success in Australia two weeks ago.

The 23-year-old Finn finished 39.2 seconds ahead of Rubens Barrichello in the Ferrari, with pole-sitter Renault's Fernando Alonso in third after leading for the first 12 laps.

Coulthard retired from second place behind Alonso on the third lap with an electronics problem, while Michael Schumacher recovered to sixth place after causing a pile-up at the start.

RACE RESULT
1 Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren)
2 Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari)
3 Fernando Alonso (Renault)
4 Ralf Schumacher (Williams)
5 Jarno Trulli (Renault)
6 Michael Schumacher (Ferrari)
7 Jenson Button (BAR)
8 Nick Heidfeld (Sauber)

The German drove into the back of Jarno Trulli at the second corner when under pressure from Coulthard, causing a multiple accident that also took Juan Pablo Montoya out of contention.

Schumacher had to pit for a new nosecone and was soon hit with a drive-through penalty before recovering to take sixth place from Jenson Button on the final lap.

Trulli, who had been knocked into a spin by Schumacher, also produced a strong drive back through the field to finish fifth.

I hope when we get the new car we will go even quicker
Kimi Raikkonen

His recovery was slowed up by a string of slower cars which he found difficult to pass because of his Renault's lack of power.

But the pace of the Renaults gave the lie to those who had claimed the team had sacrificed their race strategy to qualify on the front of the grid.

They started on less fuel than the McLarens, Ferraris and Williamses, but were competitive throughout the race and Alonso was never out of the top three.

His third place is the first time a Spaniard has finished on the podium in a Grand Prix.

Jarno Trulli is hit by Michael Schumacher at the second corner in Malaysia
Schumacher knocked Trulli into a spin at the second corner
Alonso, who drove the race with a fever, said: "Our strategy worked pretty much as we expected. I was able to lead the first stint and then battle with Rubens in the second.

"But then I had a little bit of a gearbox problem in the last stint - I had to change manually and I am very lucky to finish the race."

Ralf Schumacher drove a steady race in the Williams to benefit from the carnage around him and take fourth place after qualifying in 17th place.

Trulli's was an eventful race - he also survived a spin with six laps to go, but held off the recovering Michael Schumacher and both men were able to pass Button at the last corner on the final lap after the Englishman made a mistake.




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Five Live's Peter Slater
"Raikkonen took advantage of others' mistakes and misfortune"


MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX

MAIDEN WIN FOR RAIKKONEN

TRACK GUIDE

2003 SEASON RACE BY RACE
 

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