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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 July, 2004, 09:08 GMT 10:08 UK
Schumacher seals easy win
By Andrew Benson
Motorsport editor at Silverstone

RACE RESULT
Michael Schumacher
1 M Schumacher (Ferrari)
2 K Raikkonen (McLaren)
3 R Barrichello (Ferrari)
4 J Button (BAR)
5 JP Montoya (Williams)
6 G Fisichella (Sauber)
7 D Coulthard (McLaren)
8 M Webber (Jaguar)
Michael Schumacher held off Kimi Raikkonen to win the British Grand Prix for his 10th victory of the year.

The Ferrari driver looked on course for an easy win when it became clear just after half distance that he was making one less pit stop than the Finn.

A huge crash to Jarno Trulli brought out a safety car and gave Raikkonen a late chance, but Schumacher held on.

Rubens Barrichello was third for Ferrari, followed by Jenson Button's BAR and Juan Pablo Montoya's Williams.

Giancarlo Fisichella finished sixth for Sauber after an impressive drive from the back of the grid, and David Coulthard and Mark Webber took the final points-scoring positions for McLaren and Jaguar.

Schumacher spent the early laps in fourth place, behind Raikkonen, Barrichello and Button.

But the world champion stayed out for several laps longer than any of them before his first stop on lap 15 and rejoined the track in the lead just ahead of Raikkonen.

My car was just going so well that I was able to close the gap to Kimi - that was just phenomenal
Michael Schumacher
The two went round nose to tail until Raikkonen's second stop on lap 28, and when Schumacher stayed out until lap 37 - seven laps beyond half distance - it became obvious that he would not need to stop again.

That should have meant the German had a comfortable last part of the race, as Raikkonen's final stop would have given the Ferrari star a lead of more than 20 seconds.

But Trulli lost control of his Renault at well over 100mph heading into the Priory corner on lap 40, smashed into the wall, spun three times and somersaulted before coming to rest the right way up.

Officials sent out the safety car while Trulli, apparently uninjured, was helped from his car by doctors and the barriers repaired.

The safety car period meant that Raikkonen could make his final stop and not lose any ground to Schumacher.

And when the race was restarted, Raikkonen quickly passed the two backmarkers who were between himself and the Ferrari and set about challenging for the lead.

I just tried to do my best and pushed as hard as I could
Kimi Raikkonen

But Schumacher had enough in hand to hold him off and win by 2.1 seconds.

"I thought we had a very good option for strategy but that it would pay off so early, leading so early, that was not the plan," said Schumacher.

"But my car was just going so well when I was on a clear track before the first stop that I was able to close the gap Kimi had built up.

"That was just phenomenal. After that it was just a case of controlling the gap."

Raikkonen added: "I just tried to do my best and pushed as hard as I could at the start because I knew that Ferrari might be quicker than us over the race distance, so I tried to build as much of a gap as I could.

"But every time I came out of the pits I was stuck behind someone so I couldn't use my tyres' speed when they were new.

Showers are expected at Silverstone
The weather held despite clouds at Silverstone

"The last part when we were behind safety car I was thinking if I can pass quickly the two cars between us I can have a good chance, but it took too long to get past."

Button, who had hoped for a podium finish from his home race after a series of races in which BAR had admitted to being disappointed with their results, sneaked ahead of Barrichello during the first pit stops.

But the Brazilian had plenty of performance in hand and easily made up the ground to re-pass the Englishman during their second stops.

Montoya was just over two seconds behind the two in his Williams and was forced to hold off the charging Sauber of Fisichella for the closing laps.

Fisichella, high on Williams' list for a drive next season, elected to start from the back with enough fuel to do only two stops after an engine change in practice meant he would be penalised 10 grid positions.

The Italian drove a superb race to be in a points-scoring position by the time of his first pit stop on lap 23.

And the safety car period meant he got a 'free' second stop and did not lose position later in the race.

Coulthard was no match for his team-mate in a subdued drive for McLaren and Webber drove a doughty race on a two-stop strategy to earn struggling Jaguar a much-needed point.


WATCH AND LISTEN
Report: BBC Five Live's Jonathan Legard




SEE ALSO
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