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Schumacher wins Spanish Grand Prix
May 09, 2004 19:34 IST
Last Updated: May 09, 2004 21:23 IST
World champion Michael Schumacher has celebrated his 200th grand prix in Spain with a fifth win in a row to equal Formula One's record start to a season.
The German roared across the Circuit de Catalunya finish line 13.2 seconds ahead of Brazilian team mate Rubens Barrichello on Sunday to secure Ferrari's third one-two of the year.
Schumacher punched the air and pumped his fist in delight and relief as he took the chequered flag for the 75th time in a record-breaking career.
"It's 200, it's 75. A lot of numbers come together. Five in a row. A lot of nice numbers which I'm proud of," said the six- times world champion.
"But I'm now looking forward to the next one."
Schumacher was mentally drained after 66 laps at the wheel, 56 of them knowing that his car had an exhaust problem that could have wrecked his efforts.
Presented with his trophy by King Juan Carlos, he remained the unchallenged king of the road in Barcelona with four successive wins at the circuit and six in total.
Schumacher rounded off a perfect weekend by also setting the fastest lap.
Italian Jarno Trulli was third for Renault, his first podium appearance of the season, after making a spectacular start from the second row and leading for the first eight laps.
Spain's Fernando Alonso consolidated Renault's second place in the constructors' standings by finishing fourth, ahead of Japan's Takuma Sato in a BAR and Germany's Ralf Schumacher for Williams.
Ferrari have 82 points to Renault's 42 with BAR in third place on 32 ahead of Williams on 30. Schumacher has a perfect 50 with Barrichello second on 32.
Italian Giancarlo Fisichella secured two points for Sauber, while BAR's Briton Jenson Button, on the podium in the last three races, climbed back from 14th on the grid to take eighth place and stay third overall with 24 points.
Ferrari have now won the last eight races and Schumacher has equalled Briton Nigel Mansell's 1992 achievement for Williams in winning the first five grands prix of the year.
Hopes of first corner excitement, with Schumacher on pole alongside Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya after they clashed on the first lap of the last race, dissipated as Trulli seized his moment.
The Renault, lighter on fuel than the cars around it, jinked and then carved through the gap in front as Schumacher slotted into second place and Montoya, who later retired, dropped back to fourth.
When Trulli peeled off for the first of three stops, Schumacher hit the front and was untroubled for the rest of the afternoon as the strategy fell into place.
The race went ahead smoothly despite a protestor running onto the main straight and being wrestled to the ground seconds before the start.
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