Schumacher admits he was worried
10 May 2004
BARCELONA – Michael Schumacher maintained his 100 percent record for the season on Sunday, when he won the Spanish Grand Prix ahead of his Ferrari teammate, Rubens Barrichello.
Italian Renault driver Jarno Trulli was third, ahead of local favourite Fernando Alonso in the second Renault and BAR-Honda’s Takuma Sato.
Schumacher’s 75th victory in his 200th Grand Prix sees him equal Nigel Mansell’s record of winning the five first races of the season.
After the race Schumacher admitted that he was concerned after his pit stop. “The engine had some problems and there was a change to the sound. I was told by the team that there was this trouble. They did not sound very optimistic and I was worried. I tried to preserve the engine as much as possible and was glad that it worked out in the end.
“Even though it seemed to be an easy race, it was not like that. The fact that we still managed to come home in first and second place shows what good work Ferrari does.”
Barrichello said that he believed he had shown his critics, who had said that he was far behind the world champion, that he was also a competitive driver. “I think I did well and to finish second is great.”
Ralf Schumacher in a Williams-BMW was sixth, while Giancarlo Fisichella in a Sauber finished seventh. The last championship point went to Honda driver Jenson Button.
Trulli had a sensational start, when he moved from fourth to first within a few seconds of starting. He managed to hold onto first place for the first 10 laps, when he had to go into the pits and gave Schumacher the lead.
The German made his first fuel stop a lap later, managing to come out fractionally in front of Trulli and from then on, never had to look back.
Trulli soon afterwards lost second place to Barrichello and the two Ferrari drivers then comfortably raced towards the third Ferrari one-two in the five races that have been run this season.
Trulli said that he was particularly pleased with his performance at the start. “It was nearly a jump start. I took a gamble and it worked out.
“I dedicate my third place to a friend of mine, who is involved in a very serious battle. I will give him the trophy that I have won.”
Williams-BMW’s Juan Pablo Montoya, who started the race in the front row of the grid alongside Schumacher, had to withdraw from the race in the 48th lap with engine trouble.
The Colombian said afterwards that he had been struggling with the brakes from the third lap.
At the same time McLaren-Mercedes’ Kimi Raikkonen, who was also in the pits at the same time, had some problems with his pit stop and fell back several places to come out 11th – too far to challenge for a position in the points.
He eventually finished in that position behind his teammate David Coulthard to end another disappointing race for McLaren, who are only fifth in the constructors’ standings with five points – 77 points behind Ferrari.
Schumacher’s victory sees him extend his lead at the top of the drivers’ standings to 18 points. He has 50 out of a possible 50 points, while teammate Barrichello is second on 32 points. Button is third on 24 points.
The next Grand Prix is in Monaco on 23 May.
Subject: German news