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Last Updated: Sunday, 14 September, 2003, 15:21 GMT 16:21 UK
Schumi savours Monza triumph
ITALIAN GRAND PRIX
Michael Schumacher celebrates on the podium at Monza
Michael Schumacher has hailed his victory in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza as one of the finest moments of his career.

Schumacher seized back the initiative in the title race by holding off championship rival Juan Pablo Montoya to triumph on Ferrari's home track.

It was his first victory since the Canadian Grand Prix in June and his 50th for Ferrari, stretching his lead over Montoya to three points with two races to go.

"It was quite a while ago that we won our last race and we have had some tough races," said Schumacher.

"But we had the summer break and made a big push in the team. Everyone was motivated, giving over 100%, and I was able to pay them back a little with pole.

Today we were competitive and that bodes well for the rest of the season
Ferrari technical chief
Ross Brawn

"But I think this is one of the greatest days of my career and I am so thankful to the guys in the team.

"We won such an important race with all that has happened before and you have all that emotion out there, it's just extraordinary."

Schumacher laid the foundations for his victory on the opening lap when he held off a determined challenge from Montoya and went on to control the race.

"The opening lap was tight," he said. "I locked up the first corner and almost didn't make the chicane and Juan came on the outside and we had a nice fight.

"It was very hard but fair and that's what people want to see. Then I could run up a lead which was vital to win the race."

DRIVERS' STANDINGS
1 Michael Schumacher 82pts
2 Juan Pablo Montoya 79
3 Kimi Raikkonen 75
4 Ralf Schumacher 58
5 Fernando Alonso 55
6 Rubens Barrichello 55
The victory leaves Schumacher the clear favourite to take a record sixth title as he leads Montoya by three points and McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen by seven going into the final races in the USA and Japan.

"The title is pretty open and it's going to be very interesting in the last two races," said Schumacher. "What matters now is who improves the best."

Ferrari's technical director Ross Brawn admitted the victory had come as a relief after the team's disappointing display at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

"We've had a few races when we have not been competitive and that was hard, but today we were competitive and that bodes well for the rest of the season," said Brawn.




ITALIAN GRAND PRIX

MICHAEL'S DAY AT MONZA

TRACK GUIDE

2003 SEASON RACE BY RACE
 

GET INTO F1

EVERY TEAM ANALYSED
 

EACH DRIVER PROFILED
 


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