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Ferrari on course for a 1 - 2 [21 Aug 2002|01:00pm]
[ mood | chipper ]

Ferrari are on course for their first one-two finish in the Drivers' FIA Formula One World Championship™ in twenty years, after Rubens Barrichello's lights to flag victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix yesterday.

After three races in July that he would rather forget, where promising qualifying positions were ruined by car trouble on the grid, the Brazilian's first race in August has lifted him to second in the drivers' title - five points clear of Ralf Schumacher.

Barrichello coasted to victory on Sunday ahead of five-time world champion team mate Michael Schumacher - their fifth race one-two of the season - to hand Ferrari their fourth consecutive and twelfth overall Constructors' FIA Formula One World Championship.

RB - FerrariHowever the Italian giants' last one-two in the drivers' standings goes much farther back, to 1979 when Jody Scheckter and Gilles Villeneuve spelled out the Italian stable's mechanical domination.

Ferrari's victory famine ended when Schumacher grabbed the third of his world titles in 2000, having won his first two championship crowns with Benetton in 1994 and 1995.

Now Barrichello heads to the Belgian Grand Prix looking to solidify his position, and play his own part in the team's history-making run.

"It is one of the best races of the year," Barrichello said referring to the Spa-Francorchamps circuit. "Although last year I didn't have a very good race there."

On his last visit to the Belgian track Barrichello lost his front wing on the seventeenth lap. He managed to drive back to the pits and have a replacement fitted, but the extra time took its toll and he finished fifth.

A year on, he hopes his car problems are behind him. "Now with this fantastic car and having clinched the championship I think we'll go with a little bit less pressure and try to do a good job all over again," he commented.

The Brazilian is also assured of help from team mate Schumacher for the Belgian race. "It's very clear that we want to make sure that Rubens sort of does the job in order to get the second place in the championship," the German told press.

"There is no point in me taking points away from him. That's not the intention. But let's hope that happens soon so that we can have good fun again."

Although he took pole position in Saturday's qualifying, Barrichello's victory also came down to a distinct lack of mechanical problems. In contrast to July, his car was perfect the whole weekend.

At the British Grand Prix in early July he stalled on the starting grid. He had to start at the back of the field but still managed to come second. Then, at the French Grand Prix, Barrichello's car wouldn't start and he was out of the race when an engine sensor failed.

At the German Grand Prix, one week later, he had to jump into the spare just before the start; then his crew had a problem with refuelling that cost him precious seconds. He eventually finished fourth.

A second-place finish in the drivers' standings would therefore be the cherry on the cake for the Brazilian, whose season in the shadow of Schumacher has proved challenging.

Barrichello failed to finish the first three races of the season, leaving him so far behind in the standings that, at the Austrian Grand Prix, Ferrari asked him to move aside and let Michael Schumacher take victory.

He managed to redeem himself with a string of strong performances and a win at the European Grand Prix. And with the promise of help from Schumacher in Belgium, the Brazilian's topsy-turvy season could finally finish on a high note.

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Ferrari win constuctors championship 4 times in a row! [21 Aug 2002|01:07pm]
[ mood | dorky ]

Ferrari have clinched their fourth successive constructors' championship with a faultless performance at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Rubens Barrichello took his third career win, just ahead of Michael Schumacher, in a one-two finish for the Italian team.

Barrichello started from pole and was never headed around the Hungaroring. Ralf Schumacher finished a distant third for Williams ahead of the two McLarens of Kimi Raikkonen and David Coulthard, and Giancarlo Fisichella's Jordan.

Barrichello had Schumacher close behind him for the entire 77 laps but the world champion was unable to find a way past, either on track or during their two scheduled pit stops, which saw him narrowly retain his lead both times. Barrichello was delighted with his second win of the year, which moves him into second place in the driver standings.

MS & RB - Ferrari"The most important thing is to have clinched the constructors' title for the team," he said afterwards. "Michael has said so many times how good they (Ferrari) are, and how good we are together. We had a great car, great team, great pit stops, great everything today!"

On the Ferrari pair's apparent decision to hold station he added: "It's not a rule but when you have a situation like that you just want to concentrate and bring it home. We had the best car out there and after a point we just wanted to bring it home."

Meanwhile, Schumacher admitted he was fortunate not to lose second place at the start when he was challenged by his brother. "It was not very pleasant to try and start from the position I did (the dirty side of the track), it felt like I started on ice. I was lucky to stay where I was.

The world champion, who out of the blue set the fastest lap of the race on lap 72 (a 1.16.207), said he was happy with second place and that he enjoyed the race: "There was no intention (of finding a way past Barrichello). I was just having fun, and it (his fastest lap) wasn't a series of laps, it was just one lap, and then I came home."

For Ralf Schumacher it was a lonely race in third. After failing to get past his brother down the inside of the first corner he was powerless to stop the scarlet cars romping away, leaving him unchallenged for the final podium position.

"It was kind of boring," he said. "To be honest we didn't expect to be third here. The team did a great job, all pit stops were brilliant. I was very happy.

"My tyres came in and I was pushing the whole race. The problem here is lapping people, you are being held up for quite a bit of time even if the gap looks quite big. I don't know why but you seem to lose a bit of time."

In contrast to Ralf, Williams team mate Juan Pablo Montoya had a poor afternoon. A bad start dropped him from fourth to seventh on lap one and he then lost out in a clash with Raikkonen on lap 23. The pair were side-by-side around Turn 2 after a mistake from the Colombian allowed Raikkonen to get a run on him.

Montoya refused to give way, but was eventually forced wide, running over the gravel and damaging his car. He lost three places instantly and was then forced to pit early to have broken bodywork pulled from his chassis. He rejoined in 12th and eventually finished 11th.

Raikkonen's move on Montoya was just part of another fine drive from the young Finn. Both he Coulthard proved McLaren's race pace to be far superior to their disappointing qualifying speed, which had put them 11th and 10th on the grid respectively.

Raikkonen made a strong start, moving up to eighth place on lap one, while Coulthard survived a clash with Sauber's Nick Heidfeld. Late pit stops for both McLaren men ultimately saw them leapfrog Fisichella and Felipe Massa's Sauber to clinch fourth and fifth.

The Hungaroring proved worthy of its reputation as being a difficult circuit for overtaking, with few real passing moves. Massa just missed out on a point in seventh, despite pressuring Fisichella for much of the race. Similarly, Sauber team mate Heidfeld had to settle for ninth after failing to find a way past the Renault of Jarno Trulli, whose poor start had dropped him from sixth to ninth on the opening lap.

Takuma Sato claimed the final top ten spot after setting some impressive and consistent times. However, starting from 14th on the grid meant he was never able to join Jordan team Fisichella in challenging for points.

Olivier Panis eventually came home in 12th after a disastrous first few laps which saw him drop to 19th place. He at least fared better than BAR team mate Jacques, who pulled off the pit straight to retire on lap 22. "I think it was the hydraulics, but I don't know," said the Canadian. "The car just stopped."

Toyota's Mika Salo emerged the winner in a long battle with the Jaguar of Pedro de la Rosa, the pair finishing in 13th and 14th respectively. They came in together for their second pit stops and de la Rosa nearly ran into the rear of the Toyota as they exited. They again came close to contact on lap 64 out on track, but Salo retained the advantage.

Salo's team mate Allan McNish finished 15th in the second Toyota, while Jaguar's Eddie Irvine was forced to retire with technical problems on lap 25. "It's been misfiring and that's it," was his only comment.

Minardi's Mark Webber was the final finisher in 16th place after his new team mate Anthony Davidson spun out at Turn 9 on lap 62. It was a disappointing end to the BAR tester's first GP weekend after he had driven consistently throughout the race.

Davidson's old karting rival Jenson Button also ended his day in the gravel after losing the back end of his Renault at Turn 13, while coming under pressure from Raikkonen on lap 34.

Conditions were fine throughout the afternoon in Hungary, with track temperatures of around 30°C. Ferrari's one-two result means they now have a 77 point lead over Williams, thus assuring them of the constructors' crown.

In the driver standing's Barrichello moves into second place on 45 points, five clear of both Ralf Schumacher and Montoya, who are locked together on 40, eight clear of Coulthard. Barrichello must now be favourite for the runner-up spot and he said he was already looking forward to the next race in Belgium in two week's time.

"It is one of best races of year and I am sure we are going to have good race," he said. "I will try to do a good job all over again."

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