Barrichello wins Ferrari battle

Rubens Barrichello scored the third grand prix victory of his career after holding team-mate Michael Schumacher at bay throughout the race at the Hungaroring on Sunday to deliver the 2002 constructors' title for Ferrari

Barrichello wins Ferrari battle

The initial burst to the first corner was always going to be crucial, and Rubens set the tone for his day with a perfect getaway. His team-mate Schumacher, however, suffered from being on the dirtier side of the grid, which he likened to "starting on ice" and had to hold off brother Ralf's Williams on the entry to Turn 1. Once again, Schumacher Jr deferred to his older sibling and settled into third.

Behind them, Jordan's Giancarlo Fisichella took full advantage of a tardy start from Juan Pablo Montoya to grab fourth, with Felipe Massa (Sauber) making a brave move around the outside to snatch fifth. Jenson Button also elected for a bold approach and took sixth despite clashing wheels with Montoya on the exit of Turn 2.

The Ferraris were immediately in a class of their own, about a second per lap faster than the best of the rest over the opening 10 laps. Ralf S held a lonely third, ahead of Fisichella, Massa and Button, while Montoya had his hands full with McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen in a battle for seventh.

That scrap came to a head on lap 20, when Montoya ran wide over the kerbs at Turn 11, and appeared to lose some of his car's aerodynamic parts. Raikkonen kept the pressure up, lunging around the outside at Turn 2 on the following lap. That gave him the inside line for Turn 3, but Montoya ran wide on to the gravel anyway, losing yet more aero parts and a chunk of floor.

Montoya then pitted, and was sent on his way again without the expected front wing change - prompting a frank exchange of views between Williams' technical director Patrick Head and operations manager Sam Michael - but the Colombian was now back in penultimate position.

Given the sinuous nature of the track, and lack of overtaking opportunities, pitstops were the next most vital aspect of the race. Schumacher was the first of the Ferrari duo to pit, and was on his way 0.6secs quicker than Barrichello, who stopped a lap later. That meant he was right on the tail of the Brazilian when Rubens exited the pits, but Barrichello was fortunate that the lapped Montoya was also in close proximity at Turn 2, extinguishing any chances Michael had of lunging past.

At the second round of stops, the Ferraris were turned around in identical times and Rubens had the breathing space he needed to rattle off the remaining laps to the chequered flag.

"The most important thing was to clinch the constructors' championship," said Barrichello. "Michael has said so many times before just how good this team is. We had a great car, a great team, great pitstops, great everything today."

Ferrari's technical director Ross Brawn commented: "This is very special for us. We have been racing against BMW and Mercedes, two of the biggest car manufacturers, and won the constructors' title for the past four years."

Schumacher had one last trick up his sleeve, dropping back by 4secs only to launch an all-out blitz on the lap record on the 72nd tour, eclipsing Mika Hakkinen's best mark from last year by half a second. "I just had some fun," he smiled later, and was jokingly referred to as "a little boy wanting to have fun" by Brawn.

With Ralf S cruising to an easy third, a drive he labelled "boring", all eyes were on the progress of the McLarens. Raikkonen had leapt ahead of David Coulthard at the start and grabbed sixth place when Button spun off at Turn 13 when he "just came across too far on the right" and dropped his right-rear wheel on to the grass under braking. He had just lapped Anthony Davidson's Minardi, and might have picked up some dirt on his tyres, causing the initial slide.

At the second round of stops, Fisichella just managed to hold off a flying Massa as he rejoined for what he thought would be fourth, but both McLarens leapfrogged ahead thanks to staying out longer, and lapping quicker, before their second stops. That gave Raikkonen fourth place, DC fifth and Fisichella the final point.

Massa was forced to settle for seventh, but was the last unlapped runner. Jarno Trulli was a lacklustre, and lapped, eighth for Renault, holding off the second Sauber of Nick Heidfeld in the closing stages. Takuma Sato was a solid 10th, ahead of the delayed Montoya, while Panis salvaged 12th after a disastrous start dropped him to the back of the field.

The battle between Mika Salo (Toyota) and Pedro de la Rosa (Jaguar) almost ended in the pit wall during their second stops, but the Spaniard managed to avoid a collision with his Finnish rival. The second Toyota of McNish was close behind in 15th, with Webber the final finisher despite completing the gruelling event with no drinks bottle. The Australian also botched his first pit stop by clipping his replacement right-front wheel and a mechanic when he came in too quickly.

An amazingly high level of reliability saw only two cars break down, with Jacques Villeneuve (BAR) and Eddie Irvine (Jaguar) the only mechanical retirements. Davidson spun into the gravel 16 laps from the end.

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