Schumacher Scores 50th Win with Ferrari

World Champion Michael Schumacher ended his poor run of form by scoring his first victory in three months in front of Ferrari's home supporters in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

Schumacher Scores 50th Win with Ferrari

World Champion Michael Schumacher ended his poor run of form by scoring his first victory in three months in front of Ferrari's home supporters in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

Schumacher, who last won in the Canadian Grand Prix in mid-June, held off the challenge of title rival Juan Pablo Montoya, of Williams-BMW, at the start and never looked back as he scored his fifth win of the season, his fourth at Monza and the 69th of his career.

Ferrari driver Rubens Barrichello came home third to complete a happy day for Ferrari in their home race with the final place on the podium after holding off McLaren-Mercedes' Kimi Raikkonen.

The result leaves Schumacher with a three-point advantage over Montoya in the Championship standings, with Raikkonen seven points off the pace. Williams' constructors lead is reduced to four points over Ferrari.

Spaniard Marc Gene ended fifth for Williams-BMW on his return to racing in place of the injured Ralf Schumacher, with BAR-Honda's Jacques Villeneuve sixth and Jaguar's Mark Webber and Renault's Fernando Alonso picking up the final points.

Giancarlo Fisichella started from the pit-lane after failing to get off the grid on the formation lap, but Schumacher and Montoya had no problems at the start of the race as they battled for the lead on the opening lap.

Justin Wilson was pushed into the pit-lane after problems on the grid, while Alonso, starting from the back of the grid, flew into the air after hitting the back of Jos Verstappen's Minardi.

Alonso's Renault teammate Jarno Trulli made an impressive start to get up to third place, but he ground to a halt at the side of the track on the opening lap.

Wilson pitted again on lap four suffering mechanical problems with his Jaguar and he eventually called it a day on lap nine. Cristiano Da Matta also exited the race when a left-rear puncture sent him spinning into the gravel.

Schumacher opened up a lead of 3.5 seconds over Montoya before David Coulthard, running fifth at the time, was the first of the leaders to pit on lap 11. Schumacher pitted at the end of lap 14 for the first time and retained his lead after Montoya came in for his first stop the following lap.

Alonso then missed the chicane and lost parts of his Renault, before BAR-Honda's Jenson Button pulled into the pit-lane and retired after suffering gearbox problems and losing pace. Montoya reduced Schumacher's lead but the German came out marginally ahead of his title rival after the second pit-stops, but Toyota's Olivier Panis slowed from eighth place and retired in the pit-lane.

McLaren driver David Coulthard, who was running fifth behind teammate Raikkonen, brought an end to his race eight laps from the end when he parked his car at the end of the pit-lane. Heinz-Harald Frentzen also stopped late in the race.

Schumacher extended his lead to more than five seconds as Montoya lost time passing backmarkers and the Ferrari driver went on to take a comfortable victory to send the tifosi wild.

PROVISIONAL RACE RESULTS The Italian Grand Prix Autodromo di Monza, Italy; 53 laps; 306.720km; Weather: Warm and dry. Classified: Pos Driver Team-Engine Tyres Time 1. M.Schumacher Ferrari (B) 1h 14:19.838 2. Montoya Williams BMW (M) + 5.294 3. Barrichello Ferrari (B) + 11.835 4. Raikkonen McLaren Mercedes (M) + 12.834 5. Gene Williams BMW (M) + 27.891 6. Villeneuve BAR Honda (B) + 1 lap 7. Webber Jaguar Cosworth (M) + 1 lap 8. Alonso Renault (M) + 1 lap 9. Heidfeld Sauber Petronas (B) + 1 lap 10. Fisichella Jordan Ford (B) + 1 lap 11. Baumgartner Jordan Ford (B) + 2 laps 12. Kiesa Minardi Cosworth (B) + 2 laps 13. Frentzen Sauber Petronas (B) + 3 laps Fastest Lap: M.Schumacher, 1:21.832, lap 14 Not Classified/Retirements: Driver Team On Lap Coulthard McLaren Mercedes (M) 45 Panis Toyota (M) 36 Verstappen Minardi Cosworth (B) 29 Button BAR Honda (B) 24 Da Matta Toyota (M) 4 Wilson Jaguar Cosworth (M) 3 Trulli Renault (M) 1 World Championship Standing, Round 14: Drivers: Constructors: 1. M.Schumacher 82 1. Williams-BMW 141 2. Montoya 79 2. Ferrari 137 3. Raikkonen 75 3. McLaren-Mercedes 120 4. R.Schumacher 58 4. Renault 79 5. Barrichello 55 5. BAR-Honda 18 = Alonso 55 6. Jaguar-Cosworth 17 7. Coulthard 45 7. Toyota 14 8. Trulli 24 8. Jordan-Ford 11 9. Webber 17 9. Sauber 9 10. Button 12 11. Fisichella 10 12. da Matta 8 13. Frentzen 7 14. Panis 6 = Villeneuve 6 16. Gene 4 17. Heidfeld 2 18. Firman 1 All timing unofficial

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Italian Grand Prix: Schumacher's crucial victory gives him edge in title race
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