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Last Updated: Sunday, 7 March, 2004, 04:28 GMT
Ferrari dominate first race
RACE RESULT
Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher embrace after the race
1 M Schumacher (Ferrari)
2 R Barrichello (Ferrari)
3 F Alonso (Renault)
4 R Schumacher (Williams)
5 JP Montoya (Williams)
6 J Button (BAR)
7 J Trulli (Renault)
8 D Coulthard (McLaren)
Ferrari drivers Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello dominated the first Grand Prix of the season in Australia.

Schumacher finished 13.6 seconds ahead of Barrichello, who was 34.6secs in front of Renault driver Fernando Alonso in third place.

The much-fancied Williams-BMWs of Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya were fourth and fifth.

Jenson Button finished sixth in the BAR-Honda, ahead of Renault's Jarno Trulli and David Coulthard of McLaren.

Alonso was the only driver to stay vaguely in touch with the Ferraris, but even he was nearly 30 seconds adrift by half-distance.

Schumacher said: "It was tough because in the first half of the race before Rubens faced some problems it was a close fight. I couldn't do any mistakes. It was very exciting."

Barrichello said he ran into brake problems after his first pit stop and had to ease off to avoid an accident.

Montoya, who was expected to challenge the Ferraris, lost ground at the start when he ran off the road at the first corner trying to hold off Alonso.

I was too slow to race with the Ferraris and a little quicker than the others
Fernando Alonso
That dropped the Colombian to seventh place, and he spent the rest of the race battling to pass slower cars.

Alonso said: "I had a little problem with Montoya. He squeezed me a bit. He ran wide on the dirty part of the track and he didn't brake enough.

"After that, I was too slow to race with the Ferraris and a little quicker than Jenson and Ralf, so it was an easy race."

Button, who had qualified an excellent fourth, spent the race going backwards as his car proved unable to match its earlier pace.

The Englishman lost out to Ralf Schumacher at the first pit stop - and he was passed by Montoya, who overtook Trulli on lap 24, on lap 38.

The Colombian then closed on his team-mate but ran out of time to catch him and settled for fifth.

Mark Webber had looked on course for eighth place in his home race in the Jaguar but retired on lap 29 with a gearbox problem.

That elevated Coulthard's McLaren into the final points scoring position on a terribly disappointing afternoon for the team.




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Five Live's Jonathan Legard
"Schumacher has a head start"



SEE ALSO
Ferrari surprised by lead
07 Mar 04  |  Formula One
Raikkonen slates McLaren
07 Mar 04  |  Formula One
Button pleased with points
07 Mar 04  |  Formula One
Ferrari 'will be caught'
07 Mar 04  |  Formula One
Race as it happened
07 Mar 04  |  Formula One


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