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Schumi wins second straight at Indianapolis

6/20/2004

INDIANAPOLIS -- Michael Schumacher was all business on the
track Sunday. Off it, he was worried about his injured brother,
Ralf.

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.''