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Schumacher wins as McLaren blow up
May 05, 2003 10:30 IST
World champion Michael Schumacher gave his new Ferrari a winning debut in Spain on Sunday as title leaders McLaren were reduced to mere spectators.
Schumacher, roaring back to his best, closed in on the overall lead with his second successive win and the 66th of a record-breaking Formula One career.
In an unforgettable afternoon for an army of Spanish supporters, Fernando Alonso finished his home race in second place for Renault.
Schumacher's win lifted him up to second place overall, four points adrift of McLaren's championship leader Kimi Raikkonen, who crashed on the start grid and could not add to his tally of 32 points after five races.
The German, whose mother died on the morning of his last win in Italy two weeks ago, leaped and let the champagne flow at last as he showered Alonso and Ferrari team mate Rubens Barrichello with spray.
"This new car is something very special," said Schumacher, who almost banged wheels with Barrichello as they went side by side into the second corner on lap one.
"We are happy to be here with the new car because I think the old car wouldn't have been able to make it."
"I am so much in love with this car. It's fantastic what they've done," he added in reference to Ferrari's new F2003-GA car.
Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya was fourth for Williams, ahead of team mate Ralf Schumacher after another lively duel between the team mates.
Brazilian rookie Cristiano da Matta and Australian Mark Webber handed Toyota and Jaguar their first points of the year in sixth and seventh place while Briton Ralph Firman opened his career scoresheet with eighth place in a Jordan.
Alonso, still just 21, became the first Spaniard to score a point in his home race and his stunning drive further enhanced his reputation as a champion in waiting.
He punched the air in utter jubilation as he crossed the finish for the best result of his fledgling career and third podium of the year.
"To be in front of 96,000 people all waving their flags coming from all parts of Spain... I'll never forget this day," said Alonso, who led briefly during Schumacher's pit stops.
The prize giving took place without Raikkonen for the first time this year after the Finn shunted Brazilian Antonio Pizzonia's Jaguar when the lights went out.
Raikkonen and team mate David Coulthard, second before Sunday's race, were both out of their cars after just 18 of the 65 scheduled laps.
The Finn left the circuit before the end of the race.
"A terrible and very short race for me," he said in a team statement. "I got off the line quickly and was beside one of the Minardis when all of a sudden there was nowhere to go."
Raikkonen had been relegated to the back of the grid by a mistake in qualifying on Saturday and, as he accelerated forwards, Pizzonia appeared to stall.
The accident was charged with irony, McLaren and Jaguar locked all week in a tug-of-war for the services of McLaren's Austrian test driver Alexander Wurz as a replacement for the under-performing Brazilian.
McLaren's nightmare continued when Coulthard went into the gravel at the second corner on the first lap. He re-entered the race last under the safety car and was 11th when his race finished on lap 18.
"Today's result is not good but that is motor racing and we will take it on the chin and bounce back at the next race," said the Scot after dropping back to fifth overall.