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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 May, 2003, 13:44 GMT 14:44 UK
Schumacher escapes to victory
Michael Schumacher's Ferrari catches fire at the Austrian Grand Prix
Ferrari mechanics extinguish the fire in Schumacher's car

Michael Schumacher overcame a pit-stop fire to win his third race in a row at the Austrian Grand Prix but Kimi Raikkonen came second to hang on to the lead in the world championship.

Not even flames from a faulty refuelling rig could prevent the ice-cool world champion from winning at the A1-Ring for a second consecutive year.

In an absorbing battle for second place, Raikkonen held off Schumacher's Ferrari team-mate Rubens Barrichello, who was third for the third race in a row.

Jenson Button came fourth with David Coulthard fifth in his McLaren.

The result means that Raikkonen leads the drivers' championship by two points from Schumacher.

There was more bad luck for Williams when Juan Pablo Montoya was forced to retire when his engine blew while leading on lap 32.

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Fernando Alonso, who had chased Schumacher so hard in Spain a fortnight ago, looked briefly threatening, but engine problems saw his race end on lap 45.

What could be the last Austrian Grand Prix began as a damp squib with two aborted starts after Cristiano da Matta twice stalled his Toyota.

When the race did begin, Schumacher comfortably held onto his pole position at the first corner with fellow front-row starter Raikkonen finding himself overtaken by Montoya.

All went smoothly for the world champion until lap 23 when Schumacher needed more fuel.

An earlier fault with the refuelling equipment when Barrichello pitted meant that the Ferrari team used a replacement rig for the German.

RACE RESULT
1. M Schumacher (Ferrari)
2. K Raikkonen (McLaren)
3. R Barrichello (Ferrari)
4. J Button (BAR)
5. D Coulthard (McLaren)
6. R Schumacher (Williams)
7. M Webber (Jaguar)
8. J Trulli (Renault)

With only five seconds' worth of fuel funnelled into the car, the nozzle burst into flames forcing the mechanics to use fire extinguishers.

"I guess the mechanics thought I was too cold and did everything to warm me up," Schumacher joked afterwards.

"They did a great job. I had a little doubt if the car would have a problem and survive, but it did."

Montoya took advantage of the delay to move into the lead with a strong charge, but his race was cruelly cut short nine laps later, ironically at the same time as Schumacher overtook Raikkonen to move into second.

From then on, the outcome was in little doubt although the tussle between Raikkonen and Barrichello went right to the final stages.




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Sport's Jonathan Legard
"Raikkonen still leads the championship"


AUSTRIAN GRAND PRIX

SCHUMI ESCAPES TO VICTORY

TRACK GUIDE

2003 SEASON RACE BY RACE
 

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