Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher romped to an easy victory today at the Belgium Grand Prix to help alleviate his fellow countryman's woes following the thrashing Germany received last night in the international football match against England (they lost 5-1).

Michael Schumacher's win was the 52nd of his career and in achieving it the German beat Alain Prost's record for the most victories by any one individual F1 driver. The day though was largely a muted affair due to the horrific crash involving Luciano Burti's Prost-Acer. Many feared for his life and it took marshals many minutes to get to the Brazilian as his AP04 was embedded in the tyre barrier.

Indeed the scenes were reminiscent of Michael Schumacher's crash at the British Grand Prix in 1999 in that marshals erected screens to field the injured driver from photographers and television cameras. The incident occurred in the opening laps when Burti went to pass Eddie Irvine on the outside at the 180mph Blanchimont section of the track. The two touched as the Irishman didn't realize the Brazilian was on the outside and this set off a chain of events, which saw the Jaguar spin and the AP04 ride across the gravel traps before slamming into the tyre barriers.

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The race was immediately red-flagged and declared null and void. Burti himself was not seriously injured in the incident, which looked extremely severe to say the least. The Brazilian is now recovering at the hospital in Li?ge and initial reports suggest he is stable and has suffered bruising to his head and face. Scans showed no signs of brain swelling but as a precautionary measure, he will spend the night in observation and will undergo another scan tomorrow morning.

The race (or races) saw a bizarre number of events. The Prost team might have thought the day could have got no worse at the first start when Heinz-Harald Frentzen stalled his AP04 but the Burti crash showed how wrong that was. This meant all Frentzen's good work from yesterday's qualifying - which had put him fourth - was destroyed and the German started the first race at the back of the grid.

The second start of the first race also saw drama when the same problem that had afflicted Frentzen struck Juan Pablo Montoya, the Colombian stalling and like the German the Williams-BMW driver immediately saw all hope of points vanish before his eyes. For Ralf Schumacher and Michael this was all good news and initially off the line the Williams-BMW led Michael Schumacher's Ferrari. Schumacher Senior though soon asserted his dominance and swept by Ralf to lead at the end of the first lap.

Meanwhile the Benetton-Renault's seemed to fly off the grid - Giancarlo Fisichella moving from eighth to fourth and his team-mate from 15th to eighth. The order at the end of the first lap was Michael Schumacher 2.1secs ahead of Ralf Schu followed by Rubens Barrichello, Fisichella, Mika Hakkinen, David Coulthard and the rest. Within a few laps Fisichella had been demoted to sixth with Hakkinen taking the Italian first and then followed by DC. At the front Michael Schumacher was storming away and by the end of lap four had a 6.387 second lead.

It was then on lap five that Burti and Irvine had their misunderstanding and the Prost driver crashed off at high speed. After the red flag period the driver's assembled on the grid for the re-start, the initial few laps being declared null and void.

It was then that Williams' woes hit new levels. If it wasn't bad enough losing Montoya when he stalled at the start for the first time, the second incident this time involving Ralf Schumacher was one of the most bizarre ever seen at a grand prix. As the time ticked by until the start of the formation lap the Williams mechanics were so involved in trying to get his car set-up that they forgot about the time. Suddenly they realised they had to be off the grid and in their rush to make it to the side of the track and avoid getting the German a ten second penalty for being late of the grid they forgot to lower the FW23 off the jacks. The net result was that the field swarmed by leaving a stranded Ralf Schumacher to start from the rear along with his team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya.

At the second start Michael Schumacher now getting under way from what was effectively pole made a reasonable start off the line to maintain his position and lead into the first corner, a lead barring pit stops that he would never relinquish. The Benetton's though again stormed up from out of no-where and Giancarlo Fisichella was up into second passing both McLaren's and Rubens Barrichello's Ferrari.

The Italian would maintain his second place until around 10 laps from the end when David Coulthard finally got passed at Eau Rouge thanks to back-marker Enrique Bernoldi - Bernoldi's Arrows distracting Fisichella and giving the Scot the ideal opportunity to pass. By this time though Michael Schumacher had built up a commanding lead, which was over 30 seconds and despite a scare when he went off the track, the German sailed to his 52nd F1 victory.

David Coulthard was 10 seconds behind and a further 17 seconds back was Giancarlo Fisichella. The Benetton had been able to keep it's own with the McLaren for over 20 laps and in doing so held up DC letting Michael Schumacher sail off into the distance. Fourth was Mika Hakkinen - the Finn dropping behind DC during the pit-stops.

Rubens Barrichello was fifth in the other Ferrari the Brazilian's race was spoiled when he ran over the kerbs heavily at the bus stop on lap 17, which left the Ferrari F2001 without a nose. He was then forced to do a whole lap - the longest on the F1 calendar - at reduced speed as he struggled without any front downforce. Fifth then at the end of the day wasn't a too bad result.

Sixth was Jean Alesi scoring his first point for Jordan despite a titanic battle with Ralf Schumacher in the closing laps. Jacques Villeneuve was next followed by Heinz-Harald Frentzen (Prost), Jos Verstappen (Arrows) and Olivier Panis (BAR). Panis' race was effectively ruined after he received a 10 second stop-go penalty for exiting the pits and crossing over the now dreaded white line that divides the race track from the pit exit. The last two runners to be classified were Enrique Bernoldi and Tarso Marques in 12th and 13th places respectively.

Of the rest Jordan's Jarno Trulli retired near the end of the race when he was virtually a dead cert for fifth place when his engine gave up the ghost. Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams-BMW) retired for a similar reason three laps into the re-started race. As for Jenson Button (Benetton-Renault) his nightmare year continued when like Barrichello at the bus stop the Brit attacked the kerbs a tad too enthusiastically. The net effect was he lost the nose on the B201 and then the front downforce and then slammed into the wall - game over! Pedro de la Rosa (Jaguar) and Nick Heidfeld (Sauber) accounted for each other's demise when they touched at the beginning of the re-started Belgium GP but at least they made it to the start. Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso were not so lucky - Raikkonen stopping with a transmission problem and Alonso with an undisclosed technical glitch.

So then Michael Schumacher took another win and broke another record but at least the German's didn't win the Football and thankfully Luciano Burti was ok. There is a god after all! Get well soon - Luciano Burti.

Race results:

1. Michael Schumacher Germany Ferrari-Ferrari 36 laps 1hr 08mins 05.002secs
2. David Coulthard Britain McLaren-Mercedes +10.098secs
3. Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Benetton-Renault +27.700secs
4. Mika Hakkinen Finland McLaren-Mercedes +36.000secs
5. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Ferrari-Ferrari +54.500secs
6. Jean Alesi Brazilian Jordan-Honda +59.600secs

7. Ralf Schumacher Germany Williams-BMW +59.900secs
8. Jacques Villeneuve Canada BAR-Honda +1m 04.900secs
9. Heinz-Harald Frentzen France Prost-Acer +1 lap
10. Jos Verstappen Holland Arrows-Asiatech +1 lap
11. Olivier Panis France BAR-Honda +1 lap
12. Enrique Bernoldi Brazil Arrows-Asiatech +1 lap
13. Tarso Marques Brazil Minardi-European +4 laps

Rtd Jarno Trulli Italy Jordan-Honda +31 laps
Rtd Jenson Button Britain Benetton-Renault 17 laps completed
Rtd Juan Montoya Colombia Williams-BMW 1 laps completed
Rtd Pedro de la Rosa Spain Jaguar-Cosworth +1laps
Rtd Nick Heidfeld Germany Sauber-Petronas +0 laps completed
Rtd Fernando Alonso Spain Minardi-European +0 laps completed
Rtd Kimi Raikkonen Finland Sauber-Petronas +0 laps completed
Rtd Eddie Irvine Britain Jaguar-Cosworth +0 laps completed
Rtd Luciano Burti Brazil Prost-Acer +0 laps completed

Fastest lap: Michael Schumacher Germany Ferrari 1m 49.988secs