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article imageMichael Schumacher Wins Grand Prix

By Digital Journal Staff     Jul 1, 2001 in Technology
MAGNY-COURS, France — Michael Schumacher talks in terms of perfection, and translating that to a race car has him on the verge of making history.
The three-time Formula One champion got his 50th career victory by outrunning brother Ralf on Sunday in the French Grand Prix, leaving Michael one win short of Alain Prost's record of 51.
``In Canada we had 1-2, Ralf and myself, and now we have 1-2, myself and Ralf,'' Michael said. ``It's the perfect result.''
It's also becoming a habit for the German siblings. Together, they have accounted for eight victories in 10 races this season.
Michael's sixth victory this year also moved him into a commanding lead over David Coulthard in the series standings. Schumacher has 78 points to 47 for Coulthard.
Ralf started on the pole for the first time in his career, but his BMW-powered Williams proved no match for Michael's Ferrari, and wound up second — 10.3 seconds behind. Ralf attributed his defeat to a bad set of tires and slow pit stops.
``I'm happy to be in second place because it was a disaster and really difficult to drive,'' he said. ``I think I had a problem with the right wheel getting on.
But after 38 of 72 laps, Michael was getting around the 2.64-mile Nevers Magny-Cours circuit much faster and was ahead by nearly 18 seconds.
``Our strategy was better,'' Michael said. ``It wasn't because Ralf had a problem, as far as I could see. They stayed out longer, meaning more fuel and longer pit stops.''
Third was Michael's teammate, Rubens Barrichello, who beat the McLaren-Mercedes of defending race champion Coulthard by 0.7 seconds. Earlier, Coulthard received a 10-second stop-and-go penalty for speeding in the pits.
``The penalty ruined my race,'' he said. ``It was a shame because we were competitive today, but I had to face the consequences of my mistake.''
But the Scot's car was fast, setting a one-lap record for the race at 1 minute, 16.088 seconds. He was nearly a second faster than Nigel Mansell, who set the previous record of 1:17.070 in 1992.
Rookie Juan Pablo Montoya was in fourth place and ahead of teammate Ralf Schumacher when he was forced to quit after 52 laps.
``I think we had a problem with the engine as the lap before it started losing power and then it just died,'' Montoya said. ``The main thing was being on a different strategy to Ralf and to try and beat him and I was ahead of him.''
Coulthard's teammate, two-time F1 champion Mika Hakkinen, continued his run of bad luck, failing to start because of a gearbox problem.
``I couldn't believe it,'' Hakkinen said. ``I just sat there while the mechanics were trying to get the car started.
``I'm disappointed, but things happen. It just seems they are happening to me more this season.''
The Finn has completed only four races this season and compiled just nine points.
Jarno Trulli finished fifth in a Jordan-Honda, followed by Nick Heidfeld in a Sauber-Petronas.
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