MONTREAL (AP) -- Michael Schumacher took a long swig of
champagne, then sprayed some on his younger brother. Finally back
on top of the Formula One standings, Schumacher was ready to
Schumacher won his fourth race of the season and finally passed
Kimi Raikkonen for the lead in the driver standings by beating his
brother, Ralf, in the Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday.
Schumacher, seeking his record sixth F1 world championship, has
now won six times on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. The German
driver gained the maximum 10 points for this victory and has now
scored 999 for his career.
"As for having 999 points, in Germany that number means you
have to buy everyone a drink," he joked. "So we will see what
Schumacher started third but took over the lead after his first
pit stop. He and Ralf had been running 1-2 when Ralf ducked off the
track for service on the 20th lap.
Michael pitted on the next lap, then raced his Ferrari off the
service road to get back on the race track an instant before Ralf
came by. He took over the lead when Fernando Alonso had to make his
stop, and because passing is so difficult on the 2.709-mile,
15-turn track, no one ever challenged him the rest of the way.
"The mechanics did a great job in the pit stop to put me in the
lead," he said. "This was the ideal result at the end of a very
tough and tight race."
Ralf Schumacher, who started from the pole, finished second for
Williams-BMW. It was a reverse finishing order from 2001 when Ralf
won and Michael finished second.
"It's obviously disappointing," Ralf said. "But in 2001 I won
it like this, now it is his turn."
Juan Pablo Montoya, Ralf Schumacher's teammate at Williams, was
third but irritated because he lost a chance to challenge for his
second consecutive victory when he spun on the second lap.
"I was too close to Ralf when I braked and I just braked too
late and I spun. It was my fault completely," Montoya said. "It
is a shame that we had the potential to win the race and I threw it
Fernando Alonso was fourth for Renault and the top four cars
were all running nearly nose-to-tail at the finish, a rarity in F1.
But Ralf Schumacher said it was impossible to even attempt a pass
on the leader.
"I was never close enough to even try it," Ralf said. "Maybe
some might think I didn't try it, but I couldn't."
The entire complexion of the race was changed by Montoya's spin
his car in Turn 15. That allowed Michael Schumacher to move into
second -- splitting up the Williams teammates after they started in
first and second -- and rapidly close the gap on his younger
"Without that spin, I don't think Michael would have gotten by
Juan," said Williams technical director Patrick Head. "And it
would have been a tussle between Ralf and Juan at the end."
Instead it was Michael Schumacher on top of the podium again for
the second consecutive year and back in control of the driver
standings after eight of 16 races.
Schumacher has won three straight championships and had taken
the points lead very early in each of those seasons.
But this year he had to contend with the 23-year-old Raikkonen,
who won his first race earlier this season and took control of the
driver standings after the second event -- capitalizing on early
season struggles by Schumacher and Ferrari.
But Michael Schumacher has been closing in since and trailed
Raikkonen by just four points at the start of the race. Now he is
three points ahead.
"This season is going to be a long one and we knew that at the
beginning," Schumacher said. "Of course it is important to be
leading the championship in what I have always said will be a hard
season and with a tough fight to the end."
Raikkonen, though, did little to help himself. His wrecked his
McLaren Mercedes on Saturday's qualifying lap and had to start last
on the grid.
His team elected to start the race on pit road, where he was
able to take four new tires and refuel the car as soon as the race
began. Because he had a full tank of fuel, he was able to gain
positions when other cars had to duck off for their pit stops.
He had moved all the way up to fifth but his day was ruined when
his tire lost its tread and split off the car on the 33rd lap. He
recovered, slightly, to finish sixth and earn just three points.
"Today's result is not a disaster at all and the gap to Michael
is only three points with plenty more races to go," Raikkonen
As usual, it was a horrible race for hometown hero Jacque
Villeneuve, who failed to finish on the track named after his late
father for the fifth consecutive year. He apparently had a problem
with the brakes on his BAR-Honda and retired after 15 laps.
He was in street clothes walking through the paddock with his
fingers plugging his ears as the field roared by him.