Schumacher Takes Dominant Japanese GP Win

Seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher returned to winning ways with a dominant victory in the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka on Sunday.

Schumacher Takes Dominant Japanese GP Win

Seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher returned to winning ways with a dominant victory in the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka on Sunday.

The Ferrari driver, already crowned World Champion this year, scored his 13th win of the season, 83rd of his career and his sixth at Suzuka after racing off into the distance from pole position.

He came home 14 seconds ahead of brother Ralf, who scored his first podium of the season in his second race back from the fractured back he suffered in a high-speed crash in the United States Grand Prix in June.

BAR-Honda's Jenson Button had looked set to challenge Williams-BMW's Ralf for second place but had to settle for his 10th podium finish of the season in third.

Crowd favourite Takuma Sato kept up his record of scoring points in his home race when he finished fourth for BAR, having also earned points at Suzuka in the last two years.

Renault driver Fernando Alonso claimed fifth place, McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen ended sixth, Juan Pablo Montoya was seventh for Williams and Sauber's Giancarlo Fisichella picked up the final point in eighth.

Mark Webber, third on the grid, made a slow start and lost three places to Button, Sato and Trulli as pole-sitter Michael Schumacher and brother Ralf raced into the lead.

The Schumachers reeled off quick lap times to open up a gap at the head of the field before Button, on a two-stop strategy, was ordered to let teammate Sato ahead with the Japanese driver on a two-stop race.

Giancarlo Fisichella, running in seventh at the time, made a mistake and ran wide into the gravel before Ralf Schumacher was the first man to stop on lap 10.

Webber, who lost places to David Coulthard and Fisichella as he dropped to eighth, retired from the race when he parked his car in the garage after complaining of burning in the cockpit of his Jaguar.

Rubens Barrichello gained two places to move up to seventh place after capitalising on a mistake by Montoya at the chicane and then passing Trulli on the start-finish straight. Fisichella also got ahead of Montoya.

Jordan's Timo Glock pulled his Jordan onto the grass but then rejoined the race after finding power again before coming into the pits.

Schumacher controlled the race from the front as a battle heated up for second place with Button and Coulthard, both on two-stops, attempting to hold off three-stopping Ralf.

But Coulthard's hopes of a podium finish were dashed when he was involved in a collision with Barrichello on lap 39 and both were forced to retire with front suspension failure. It was Barrichello's first retirement of the year.

PROVISIONAL RACE RESULTS The Japanese Grand Prix Suzuka, Japan; 53 laps; 307.573km; Weather: Sunny, Dry. Classified: Pos Driver Team-Engine Time 1. M.Schumacher Ferrari (B) 1h24:26.985 2. R.Schumacher Williams-BMW (M) + 14.098 3. Button BAR-Honda (M) + 19.662 4. Sato BAR-Honda (M) + 31.781 5. Alonso Renault (M) + 37.767 6. Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes (M) + 39.362 7. Montoya Williams-BMW (M) + 55.347 8. Fisichella Sauber-Petronas (B) + 56.276 9. Massa Sauber-Petronas (B) + 1:29.624 10. Villeneuve Renault (M) + 1 lap 11. Trulli Toyota (M) + 1 lap 12. Klien Jaguar-Cosworth (M) + 1 lap 13. Heidfeld Jordan-Ford (B) + 1 lap 14. Panis Toyota (M) + 2 laps 15. Glock Jordan-Ford (B) + 2 laps 16. Bruni Minardi-Cosworth (B) + 3 laps Fastest Lap: Barrichello , 1:32.730 Not Classified/Retirements: Driver Team On Lap Baumgartner Minardi-Cosworth (B) 42 Barrichello Ferrari (B) 39 Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes (M) 39 Webber Jaguar-Cosworth (M) 21 World Championship Standing, Round 17: Drivers: Constructors: 1. M.Schumacher 146 1. Ferrari 254 2. Barrichello 108 2. BAR-Honda 116 3. Button 85 3. Renault 100 4. Alonso 54 4. Williams-BMW 74 5. Montoya 48 5. McLaren-Mercedes 61 6. Trulli 46 6. Sauber-Petronas 33 7. Raikkonen 37 7. Jaguar-Cosworth 10 8. Sato 31 8. Toyota 9 9. Coulthard 24 9. Jordan-Ford 5 10. Fisichella 22 10. Minardi-Cosworth 1 11. R.Schumacher 20 12. Massa 11 13. Webber 7 14. Pizzonia 6 15. Panis 6 16. Klien 3 17. da Matta 3 18. Heidfeld 3 19. Glock 2 20. Baumgartner 1 All timing unofficial

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