Ferrari's Michael Schumacher took his 64th victory today after what seemed like a stroll in the park at the Suzuka circuit ahead of his teammate Rubens Barrichello. The attrition rate for the grand finale was high as only ten drivers finished...
Ferrari's Michael Schumacher took his 64th victory today after what seemed like a stroll in the park at the Suzuka circuit ahead of his teammate Rubens Barrichello.
The attrition rate for the grand finale was high as only ten drivers finished the race. The 'man-of-the-day' had to be Jordan driver Takuma Sato who scored his first points of the season with a fifth placed finish! The crowds went wild as he crossed the finish line.
Kimi Raikkonen was third for McLaren after teammate David Coulthard was forced to retire early in the race. Juan Pablo Montoya crossed the line in fourth to secure his third place in the drivers championship after Ralf Schumacher retired with a blown BMW engine.
Jenson Button, a lap down, was the final point scorer of the afternoon. Ferrari ended the season with a massive 221 points, another new record.
Sauber's Felipe Massa crashed out in lap 4 while Minardi's Alex Yoong was caught out by the gravel trap on lap 15. Yoong had earlier led team-mate Mark Webber for the first 11 laps after a storming start by the young Malaysian.
"I enjoyed racing Mark before leaving the track. I had to start the race without the power steering system as the only new unit went to Mark (Webber). We had earlier decided that since the team had only one new unit and the only other unit already had 7,000 km life in it, it was not safe to risk using the old unit in this circuit since Mark had a failure to his power system in Indy." said Yoong.
"The car was very heavy and difficult to drive since the down force generated is much higher than last year's car. It was not easy to drive the car as hard as I did and to be precise through the high speed corners without the power steering aid. But nevertheless, except for spares issue, the weekend went ok and I'm satisfied." Yoong added.
"This was a great learning season for me, with the lows and the highs but I'm glad the season ended strong for me and I like to thank all the boys in the team for their hard work and support. We now have to see what's in store for 2003."