Schumi wins second straight at Indianapolis
Schumacher cruised to a 2.9-second victory over Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello in a U.S. Grand Prix marred by several crashes, including one that left his brother in an Indianapolis hospital with back pain.
Afterward, the six-time world champion was subdued despite his eighth win in nine races this season.
"Obviously, that was the biggest concern I had, seeing Ralf sitting so long in the car,'' Schumacher said.
It took track workers several minutes to get Ralf Schumacher out of the car after he lost control, spun twice coming out of turn 13 and slammed hard into the outside wall. Team owner Frank Williams said the younger Schumacher was conscious, and able to move his arms and legs. The team issued a statement saying he would be kept overnight for observation.
The accident, and uncertainty, didn't distract Michael Schumacher.
He made his winning move on the fifth lap with a running start behind the safety car, pulling next to Barrichello on a restart and accelerated past him to take the lead. It was typical Schumacher -- gutsy, skillful and, of course, perfectly timed.
"Here, you don't have much time to prepare yourself and get yourself right,'' Schumacher said. "I was slipstreaming Rubens and was able to pass.''
Schumacher made it sound as easy as it has looked all season. Sunday's victory was his third win in five starts at the USGP.
Instead of celebrating, though, he was looking for more information about his brother.
"They were telling me that everything was not too bad, everything was all right,'' Michael Schumacher said. "But I've heard this in the past, and things have turned out differently.''
The only real threat to Schumacher's supremacy Sunday was Barrichello, a Brazilian who now trails Schumacher 80-62 in the points standings.
Barrichello and Schumacher, teammates for Ferrari, started one-two and Schumacher wasted no time in testing the pole winner.
He darted inside heading into the first turn, but Barrichello dipped down on the track, cutting off Schumacher to retain the lead.
It lasted five laps.
When the race restarted after a five-car crash on the first lap, Schumacher made his move. Barrichello couldn't hold him off.
"They were telling me 'Come in, don't come in, come in, don't come in,' so I was slowing down,'' Barrichello said. "It was very unfortunate.''
On lap 52, Barrichello, with new tires, tried to pass Schumacher in three consecutive turns. Schumacher cut him off each time, sometimes getting dangerously close to his teammate.
For the non-Ferrari teams, especially BMW Williams, it was a tough day.
Besides Ralf Schumacher's accident, Colombia's Juan Pablo Montoya couldn't get his car to start for the parade lap, then was pushed into the pits and changed cars -- a decision that would haunt him. On Lap 58, the stewards black-flagged Montoya for being off the grid two seconds too long at the start of the race.
It was the second time in two weeks a Williams car was disqualified.
"We had another bad weekend,'' Williams said. "We don't know what caused Ralf's accident. Juan's car was disqualified because if you decide to change your car on the grid, the driver must be off the grid himself, not necessarily the car, within 15 seconds of the start.''
As Schumacher and Barrichello jockeyed for the lead, sometimes side-by-side and nearly touching, the rest of the drivers simply tried to stay out of trouble.
It wasn't easy.
Austria's Christian Klien ran into the back of Brazil's Felipe Massa, starting a four-car crash on the second turn. Italy's Gianmaria Bruni and Giorgio Pantano, Massa and Klien were all knocked out of the race before completing a lap and Cristiano da Matta, another Brazilian, had to pit twice because of damage to his car. Da Matta dropped out on lap 18 when his car stopped on the track.
The crashes continued. On the ninth lap, a right rear tire puncture sent Spain's Fernando Alonso into the outside wall and crashing through some signs on the track.
Only eight cars finished the race.
"As soon I was aware of Montoya's position, when I saw a BMW parked there, I said, 'No, no please, please not something bad,'' Michael Schumacher said. "It was very difficult just to manage the situation. It was a very close fight.''
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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