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Last Updated: Sunday, 6 July, 2003, 13:35 GMT 14:35 UK
Williams dominate in France
Ralf Schumacher wins the French Grand Prix
1 R Schumacher (Williams)
2 JP Montoya (Williams)
3 M Schumacher (Ferrari)
4 K Raikkonen (McLaren)
5 D Coulthard (McLaren)
6 M Webber (Jaguar)
7 R Barrichello (Ferrari)
8 O Panis (Toyota)

Ralf Schumacher led home a Williams one-two for the second consecutive race in the French Grand Prix.

Schumacher - who won at the Nurburgring last weekend - and team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya had their own private battle as Williams dominated the 70-lap race at Magny-Cours.

The result means that the Williams pair have thrust themselves into contention for the drivers' world championship.

Leader Michael Schumacher saw his Ferrari outpaced for the second race in a row and had to settle for third.

But the German world champion overtook the McLarens of Kimi Raikkonen and David Coulthard at the final pitstops to move up from fifth and extend his lead at the top of the standings.

Raikkonen kept his own title challenge alive by finishing fourth but his McLaren team-mate Coulthard dropped back to fifth after difficulties refuelling on his final pit-stop.

Ralf Schumacher and Montoya began the race at the front of the grid and were in charge of proceedings throughout.

A slow first pit-stop lost the Colombian three or four seconds which could well have cost him the top place on the podium.

I probably needed one more second to pass him, but there you go
Juan Pablo Montoya

At one point, Ralf was eight seconds clear but his Colombian team-mate kept carving into the lead to bring it down to just 2.5 seconds.

The battle culminated in Schumacher just keeping ahead as he came out of his final pit-stop and thereafter Montoya appeared to ease off.

Ralf Schumacher said: "I was able to disappear in the first stint, but the second stint the car didn't feel as good and Juan closed in.

"I saw Juan go into the pits and I asked if they could make a place for me [one lap early] because I knew if I stayed out he could pass me and I didn't want that to happen."

Montoya said: "In the first stint I wasn't very confident in the car, and then I think they had a problem with a wheel nut at my stop. But in the second stint I could start pushing and I came up right behind him.

"I probably needed one more second to pass him, but there you go. After that I just backed off."

A slight lapse of concentration with five laps remaining was the only threat to Schumacher in the latter stages and he took the chequered flag comfortably clear.

Juan Pablo Montoya, Ralf Schumacher and Michael Schumacher
The top three enjoy their success on the podium
Rubens Barrichello spun his Ferrari at the end of the first lap to drop to the back of the field but worked his way back up to seventh, behind Mark Webber's Jaguar.

The Renaults of Jarno Trulli and Fernando Alonso were on course to finish sixth and seventh in the team's home Grand Prix, but they retired within two laps of each other with just over 20 laps to go.

British driver Jenson Button's miserable weekend continued when his BAR ran out of fuel on lap 22.




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Five Live's Jonathan Legard
"Williams head towards the British Grand Prix as the form team"


FRENCH GRAND PRIX

RALF IN CHARGE

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