Schumacher wins Belgian Grand Prix

Five-time Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher drove his Ferrari to an unprecedented 10th victory in one season on Sunday, winning the Belgian Grand Pr

updated: February 25, 2007 09:28 IST
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Five-time Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher drove his Ferrari to an unprecedented 10th victory in one season on Sunday, winning the Belgian Grand Prix on his favorite Spa Francorchamps circuit. Schumacher roared out from the pole position and, setting one lap record after another, he never looked back as he completed the 44-lap race on the scenic 6.963-kilometer (4.327-mile) track in one hour, 21 minutes, 20.634 seconds. Brazil's Rubens Barrichello, driving in a backup car, finished second, almost two seconds adrift after Schumacher eased off in the final lap. Barrichello cemented second place in the drivers' championship with 51 points, underlying Ferrari's dominance this season. BMW-Williams' Colombian driver Montoya crossed the line third, nearly 20 seconds behind, adding four championship points for a total of 44 and maintaining contact with the Brazilian in the standings. Schumacher's triumph brought him a record sixth win on the track, beating the previous best tally he held with Ayrton Senna. It was also the 50th race in succession a Ferrari driver has been on the podium, continuing an incredible sequence that began back in Malaysia in 1999. "We hadn't really expected anything like that,'' said Schumacher after Ferrari's second the second consecutive crushing 1-2 finish. "We managed a very good start and we were able to drive our own pace." David Coulthard secured fourth place for McLaren Mercedes in the eventful race, a disappointment for the team that dominated practice here and was expected to do better. Schumacher's younger brother Ralf in the other BMW-Williams finished fifth. Barrichello, third on the grid, beat McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen to the first curve to move into second place right after the start. "It was clear to me how quick Kimi could go, so obviously overtaking him at the start (made things) a lot easier," Barrichello said. The young Finn had claimed the first front row start of his career, but his hopes of a maiden Grand Prix win received a further blow on the second lap as he was overtaken by Montoya to slip into fourth. Michael Schumacher was lapping around two seconds faster than all of his rivals apart from Barrichello as he built-up a lead over the Brazilian of more than seven seconds by the end of lap 10. The German made his first pit stop on lap 16, and was followed by his teammate in the next lap. Meanwhile, Ralf Schumacher spun out in the tricky 'Bus stop' chicane after making a braking mistake. He managed to get back to the track but dropped two spots to eighth. With the second series of pit stops completed, there were no changes at front with Michael Schumacher leading Barrichello by 17 seconds and Montoya trailing almost 50 seconds behind. Michael Schumacher now holds the records for most Grand Prix wins (63), most victories in one season (10) and most championship points (923). Sunday's win on the track, where he made his Formula One debut in 1991 and won his first race a year later leaves the German ace with only one milestone to reach—a sixth drivers' title. That would surpass even the Argentine Formula One legend Juan Manuel Fangio, who won five titles from 1951-'57. (AP)