Rubens Barrichello won the Italian Grand Prix
today at Monza, beating Ferrari
team-mate Michael Schumacher by 2.255 seconds.
It was the Brazilian's third win of 2002 and his fourth in total, achieved at Ferraris home track in front of the fanatical 'tifosi'.
The race itself was a fairly predictable affair and after the excitement of yesterday's qualifying and the prospect that BMW
WilliamsF1 might make things difficult for the Prancing Horse, any such hopes disappeared in the first few laps.
At the start Juan Pablo Montoya, made a poor start from pole and cut across the front of Michael Schumacher, in his bid to remain out front. His team-mate, Ralf Schumacher though capitalised on the swerve across the track and as the first corner approached the two BMW
WilliamsF1's were side-by-side.
It was then that the two nearly collided, somehow though they avoided contact and after cutting across the apex, Ralf Schumacher took the lead, with Juan Pablo Montoya second and Rubens Barrichello
third. The Brazilian passed his team-mate after the five time F1 World Champion was forced to back off prior to the first corner, Michael was boxed in by the two Williams
and had no choice but to get off the gas.
In the first three laps Ralf pulled away and built up a small lead, a lead which at this point looked likely to be threatened by the Stewards, after the German had missed the first corner and gained an unfair advantage by over-taking his team-mate.
On lap three though it all proved academic - and although Ralf later claimed he was moving over to let JPM through, the team having received instructs from the Stewards - it made no difference, an engine blow up ending his race and also ending any hopes of an entertaining race.
In the confusion, although Montoya passed Ralf before the blow up, the Colombian appeared to have been delayed and with Rubens Barrichello
all over the back of him, the Ferrari
No. 2 driver took his chance and passed the Williams
for the lead.
After that Barrichello set several fastest laps and took his first pit stop on lap 18. By this time the Brazilian had nearly a 20 second lead and although he lost the lead to a one-stopping Michael Schumacher, Rubinho did enough during his second stint, to build up a 27 second cushion and later exit the pit stops after his second and last stop to remain in front. It was a close call though, and Michael Schumacher was breathing down his neck as the Brazilian exited the pits.
From then on though the two Ferraris circled lap after lap in formation, letting many much slower cars un-lap themselves and at the chequered flag a delighted Barrichello took the win and another 10 points, to further consolidate his second place in the drivers' championship. Rubens now leads Montoya by 17 points, with only 20 left up for grabs.