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A grieving Schumacher wins at San Marino
April 20, 2003 20:28 IST
World champion Michael Schumacher, grieving the death of his mother hours earlier, gave Ferrari an emotional first win of the Formula One season at their home track in Imola, Italy, on Sunday.
The German, wearing a black armband on the victory podium, started the race after dashing with his younger brother Ralf to mother Elisabeth's hospital bedside in Cologne for a final farewell on Saturday evening.
She died on Sunday morning, aged 55.
Schumacher kept his helmet on as he was led away from the finish area by Ferrari team boss Jean Todt.
It was his 65th win and Ferrari's 160th. Schumacher fought back the tears as the German anthem sounded. The champagne was left unopened by all three winners.
McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen, still the championship leader, finished second while Brazilian Rubens Barrichello, Schumacher's teammate, took third in what was set to be the final race appearance of the F2002 car.
Raikkonen has 32 points to teammate David Coulthard's 19. Schumacher has 18.
The champion, without a podium finish since his last victory at the 2002 season-ending Japanese Grand Prix, had started on pole position with Ralf's Williams alongside him on a family front row.
For a while it seemed as if fate was steering Ralf, his mother's 'little one' who said in a statement on Saturday that he thought about Elisabeth every step of the way in qualifying, toward a poignant victory.
The Williams driver, who took his first win at Imola in 2001, led for the first 15 laps, repeatedly shutting the door on the squirming red Ferrari in his rear view mirrors. But the army of red-shirted 'tifosi' had their wishes granted when Ralf came in for his first pit stop two laps before his older brother, allowing Ferrari to go one and two before their own round of refuelling.
Ralf finished fourth, his hopes of joining Michael on the podium dashed when Barrichello muscled his way past at the end of lap 52.
The Schumacher family have now dominated the San Marino Grand Prix for five years, with Michael leading a Ferrari one-two last year and winning in 2000 and 1999.
Briton David Coulthard was fifth, ahead of Renault's Spanish driver Fernando Alonso and Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya in a Williams.
Briton Jenson Button collected the final point for BAR.