| ||Associated Press|
HOCKENHEIM, Germany -- Rubens Barrichello scored his first
Formula One victory Sunday in a wild German Grand Prix featuring a
first-turn crash, a protester walking on the track and the memory
of a late champion.
Michael Schumacher was knocked out just after the start for the
second straight race and had his lead in the season standings cut
to two points.
Barrichello, in a Ferrari, battled from 18th place on the
starting grid for the first victory by a Brazilian driver in almost
seven years and his first in 123 starts.
Sticking with dry-track slicks after rain started 10 laps from
the end, Barrichello finished 7.5 seconds ahead of two-time
defending champion Mika Hakkinen, who pitted for rain tires.
Hakkinen's McLaren-Mercedes teammate, David Coulthard, was third.
Barrichello covered the 45 laps on the 4.240-mile circuit in 1
hour, 25 minutes, 34.418 seconds, for an average speed of 133.834
Hugging a Brazilian flag, Barrichello broke into tears on the
"I can't believe it, I can't believe it," Barrichello said.
"The last lap was the longest lap in my life."
Barrichello dedicated his victory to Ayrton Senna, the late
Brazilian champion who was killed in May 1994 at the San Marino GP.
The last GP win for a Brazilian was Senna's victory in Australia in
"Since 1984, he changed my life, then I definitely became a
racing driver," Barrichello said. "I followed him very much and
he heard me."
With 20 laps left, a man suddenly appeared along the track.
Wearing a white plastic rain jacket, the man crossed the track and
waved to passing cars before security officials managed to grab
"I was really worried that he was going to kill himself, that
he was going to jump under the car," Barrichello said.
Police later said the man was a 47-year-old Frenchman protesting
his dismissal by Mercedes-Benz after working for the German car
company for 20 years.
The man, who was not identified, cut through a fence to reach
the rack. He was in police custody and circuit officials filed
trespassing charges against him.
By beating the two McLaren drivers, Barrichello protected
Schumacher's lead in the Formula One championship.
With six races left, Schumacher leads with 56 points, while
Coulthard and Hakkinen now share second place with 54. A victory is
worth 10 points, second place six. Barichello, 28, has 46 and is
also now in the title race.
Schumacher and Giancarlo Fisichella collided in the first
corner, knocking both drivers out of the race.
It was a bitter outcome for Schumacher before tens of thousands
of home fans and the fourth time in the last five races he has
failed to finish.
Schumacher started from the second position on the starting
grid, on the front row behind Coulthard. Coulthard, imitating
Schumacher's driving style at the start, swerved hard from outside
to the inside to prevent Schumacher from moving ahead.
Schumacher then swerved to the outside in his Ferrari, coming
out ahead of Fisichella's Benetton, but the two cars touched sides
and spun out. Fisichella crashed into a tire wall and Schumacher
stopped in the gravel.
"He's behind and he should be watching out," said Schumacher,
who also collided with Fisichella in the first corner of the
Austrian Grand Prix two weeks ago. "He apologized but that doesn't
help me. The second time around, it really gets on my nerves."
Fisichella refused to take all the blame. "I think we should
decide in the rules whether a driver should stick to his line," he
said. "I was on my line and then suddenly Michael's car was right
in front of my front wheel so I went into the back of his car."
Hakkinen, who started from the fourth position behind
Fisichella, used the maneuvering at the start to take the early
With the rain starting to fall, Hakkinen went in for new tires
on Lap 35. Barrichello chose not to come in and held on with dry
tires to capture the victory, with Schumacher watching from the
"It was tricky, it was raining on different sections of the
track," Barrichello said.
Jenson Button in a BMW-Williams was fourth, Mika Salo in a
Sauber was fifth and Pedro de La Rosa was sixth in an Arrows.
|Michael Schumacher left, collides with Ginacarlo Fisichella at the start of the German Grand Prix.|| |
Police release protester who crossed track during F1 race
German Grand Prix results
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Schumacher brushes off pointed criticism from his F-1 rivals