F1 » 14 April 2002
San Marino GP 2002 - Schu in a class of his own.
Michael Schumacher celebrated becoming the longest-serving Ferrari driver in history by leading a comfortable 1-2 finish for the Scuderia in front of its adoring tifosi.
The German was only briefly headed during the pit-stops - by team-mate Rubens Barrichello - as he cruised to a 17secs win in the San Marino Grand Prix adding a fourth podium finish to those already achieved this season, and extending his world record for victories to 56.
Just as in the previous day's F3000 support race, the top four finished in grid order but, again like the Saturday event, this belied the battle for positions going on in the leader's wake. Unlike the F3000 race, however, most of Sunday's positional alterations took place in the pits.
While Schumacher Sr got away best of all to lead into Tamburello for the first time, it was younger brother Ralf who followed him through the opening corner, having repeated his rapid start of 2001 to slot in behind the Ferrari. Indeed, so quick was Ralf's take-off, he had to lock up his wheels to avoid collecting his sibling in the braking zone.
Barrichello faltered slightly and, despite lining his F2002 up for a straighter run into the curve that ends the main straight, was forced to slot between the two Williams entries, with Juan Montoya also making a slow start in fourth.
Behind the leading quartet, however, both McLaren and Sauber struggled to get away cleanly, with the Renaults of Jarno Trulli and Jenson Button making the most of their superior launch control system to vault past the Swiss cars. Both could have gone further has David Coulthard and Kimi Raikkonen not fanned out across the road, with the Finn slotting into fifth at Tamburello.
The order remained unchanged over the opening ten laps, but Schumacher was already beginning to disappear at the front, easing out an eight-second advantage over his brother. At the other end of the grid, Toyota's Allan McNish was out, his TF102 failing to get off the line after losing all drive when the lights went out.
The Scot was quickly joined on the sidelines by Jordan's Takuma Sato, whose car became stuck in gear on lap five. The Japanese rookie prolonged his departure by making it back to the pits for repairs, but whatever the Jordan mechanics managed to do lasted until the first corner of his return when the 'box refused to select anything other than first.
Jordan's miserable day was compounded when Giancarlo Fisichella pulled off with a similar problem some 14 laps later, but at least the predicted rain did not return to frustrate a team that had shown so much promise ion the wet conditions of Friday.
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