Ups and downs
Raikkonen wins; Schumacher misses podium againPosted: Sunday March 23, 2003 1:35 PM
Updated: Sunday March 23, 2003 3:03 PM
SEPANG, Malaysia (AP) -- Now Kimi Raikkonen has a Formula One victory this season, joining David Coulthard. And Michael Schumacher? The five-time world champion has yet to contend.
The German driver who ruled the sport last season for Ferrari was denied again Sunday at the Malaysian Grand Prix as Raikkonen won for the first time in Formula One.
Schumacher finished sixth after placing fourth in the opener in Australia. The last time he had such a bad spell in consecutive races was in 2000, when he was bumped out of the German and Austrian races on the first lap.
"I am not very satisfied but that is racing. ... I am human so I make mistakes," Schumacher said.
Rubens Barrichello, the Brazilian who rides for Ferrari, was second, 39 seconds behind. Pole-sitter Fernando Alonso of Spain, in a Renault, was third.
McLaren has won both races this season. The last time the team enjoyed back-to-back victories was in the 2000 Hungarian and Belgian Grand Prix races.
Raikkonen leads the drivers' standings with 16 points following a win and a third-place showing.
"It's difficult to say how I feel now," Raikkonen said. "It's tomorrow morning when I will know what it feels like to win my first Grand Prix."
Schumacher finished more than a lap behind and was penalized for causing a collision with Jarno Trulli on the third turn. Trulli spun and Schumacher was left on the grass for a few seconds. Schumacher re-entered the race after dropping to about 12th.
"It was clearly my mistake and I have apologized to Jarno," Schumacher said. "The accident was a decisive moment."
Brother Ralf Schumacher of Williams-BMW, who won last year's race, was fourth, and Trulli of Renault was fifth.
Raikkonen almost won the French Grand Prix last year but lost the lead with less than five laps to go, giving Michael Schumacher the victory and his latest world title.
"A driver's first GP win is his most significant and Kimi will be even better for it," said Ron Dennis, head of the McLaren team.
Raikkonen finished sixth in the standings last year after replacing two-time world champion Mika Hakkinnen in 2002 after a year with Sauber.
Coulthard, his teammate who won in Australia, lasted less than three laps because of electrical problems. Juan Pablo Montoya, second in the opener, spent more than three minutes repairing a rear wing after a first-lap crash and was 12th of 13 finishers.
In the opener, Ferrari missed the top three for the first time in 53 races. It won the first three years in Malaysia before Ralf Schumacher broke the streak with his victory. That race and the Monaco Grand Prix were the only losses for Ferrari last year.
Coulthard has 10 points for the season and is in second place in the standings, the first time McLaren is 1-2 in the drivers' standings in a long time.
"We are under no illusions about the competitiveness of our principal rivals," Dennis said.
There was heightened security because of the war in Iraq. The Minardi cars raced with a "Malaysia for Peace" logo, and a coalition of government-backed rights groups put up banners at the track entrance: "Stop War on Iraq" and "Say No to Bush." They were later removed on police instructions.