Skip to comments.Schumacher makes history
Posted on 10/12/2003 10:40:24 AM PDT by jjbrouwer
Ferrari star Michael Schumacher has won an all-time record sixth Formula One world championship after a dramatic Japanese Grand Prix. The German finished eighth to grab the point he needed to make certain of the title, while his team-mate, Rubens Barrichello, helped Ferrari to the constructors' championship by winning the race from pole.
Schumacher surpasses the record of five titles he shared with Argentine legend Juan Manuel Fangio, a feat he achieved last year.
McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen, who needed to win the race to have any chance of becoming champion, finished second to Barrichello.
Even if the Finn had won the race, his efforts would have been in vain as a result of Schumacher finishing in the points.
But Schumacher made life difficult for himself - he moved up to 12th from 14th on the grid on the first lap, but then damaged his front wing in an ambitious attempt to pass the BAR of Takuma Sato on lap six.
Review: F1 2003 season And having battled back to eighth place, Schumacher had another near miss on lap 41 when his brother Ralf's Williams ran into the back of him while the two were battling with the Toyota of Cristiano da Matta.
After that, Schumacher sat back behind Da Matta to consolidate his position and guarantee the title. Barrichello's position at the front of the field was a double guarantee for the Ferrari star - but both men had to be careful because Raikkonen was by then in second place.
Raikkonen had jumped from eighth on the grid to sixth at the end of the first lap but was never in a position to battle for the lead.
Williams driver Juan Pablo Montoya was in front at the end of the first lap, having passed Barrichello with an audacious move into the Spoon Curve.
But the Williams retired with hydraulic failure on lap nine, leaving Barrichello fending off the Renault of Fernando Alonso.
The Spaniard appeared capable of making a race of it, but retired with a broken engine on lap 17, leaving Barrichello in a comfortable lead.
McLaren had put Raikkonen on to a two-stop strategy at his first stop in an attempt to close the gap on Barrichello but the gamble did not pay off.
Barrichello was always comfortable and he eased off to finish the race 11 seconds in front.
David Coulthard finished third for McLaren after driving a race focused on helping Raikkonen.
Jenson Button took a strong fourth place, clinching fifth place in the constructors' championship for BAR.
And Jarno Trulli was even more impressive for Renault, recovering from the back of the grid after rain ruined his qualifying run to finish fifth.
The Italian headed the second BAR of Takuma Sato, Da Matta and Schumacher.
This must put him up with the greats like Senna, Clark and Fangio.
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It's going to be a couple of years as I understand it. Here are the four winners. I've no idea how they presently stand...
Edwards is driving for KTR in the Nissan World Series, Maiman has been set up with Jenzer Motorsport's Formula Renault operation, Speed is with Alan Docking Racing for British Formula 3, and Nelson will race in the Formula Euro 3000 championship with John Village Automotive.
Depending on those results...
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