Michael Schumacher took another giant step towards his fifth world championship by winning the Canadian Grand Prix, taking advantage of good strategy, a little luck and the misfortune of his closest rivals.

The German started from the front row of the grid, but it was clear early on that he was running for one fuel stop and would pace his race accordingly. As early as the opening corner, he allowed lighter team-mate Rubens Barrichello by to hound pole-sitter Juan Montoya and, as the 70-lap event unfolded, was best placed to move to the front, sealing Ferrari's 150th grand prix win in the process.

Montoya had hoped to make a break as the lights went out, but had not bargained on Barrichello being able to catapult his lightweight F2002 onto his tail by the opening corner - and into the lead at the same place next time around. Whether the Scuderia intended the Brazilian to act as hare to cover the bases in case of a incident-filled race, or to break Montoya's Williams, wasn't entirely clear but, by lap five, Barrichello was over a second to the good, and pulling further away.

Behind the equally rapid Montoya, Schumacher had slipped back, although not yet into the clutches of fourth-placed Kimi Raikkonen. The Finn made a good getaway to vault past Ralf Schumacher in the second Williams, putting the German in the middle of a McLaren sandwich as team-mate David Coulthard gained two places from eighth. The Scot relegated both Giancarlo Fisichella and Nick Heidfeld, who also passed the Italian, off the start, but it soon became clear that the majority of the top ten was attempting to complete the distance on a single stop.

Already scuppered in his attempt to do likewise was Pedro de la Rosa, who celebrated his reported three-year contract extension with a spot of wall banging, having first touched wheels with Toyota's Allan McNish. The brush triggered poor races for both men, with de la Rosa rejoining after a quick stop but eventually retiring on lap 29 and McNish running midfield until his gearbox started playing tricks, ultimately spinning him out of the race with 25 laps to run.

Enrique Bernoldi and Jacques Villeneuve - who continues to endure massive bad luck in his home race - were also early retirements, but the midfield provided much of the initial excitement as runners caught out by the qualifying weather conditions attempted to make up places on light fuel loads. Chief among these were the second Toyota of Mika Salo - who moved from 18th to eleventh in the first 14 laps, and Takuma Sato, who belied his lack of track experience with spirited overtaking moves on both BARs. The Japanese driver even had the awareness, having passed Olivier Panis by jumping the chicane, to allow the Frenchman back through - before passing him cleanly next time around.

Villeneuve's retirement, the first of the race, was also to severely dent Barrichello's hopes of winning the race. The Canadian parked his powerless car off the racing line alongside the wall bordering the run down from the hairpin, but the marshals' efforts to move it proved fruitless, leaving race control with no option but to deploy the safety car.

While Montoya took the opportunity to dive for the pits, Barrichello was left out to lead the field around behind Bernd Maylander's Mercedes, his lead over third placed team-mate Schumacher eradicated at a stroke. Montoya's stop, meanwhile, whilst elongated by the need to remove leaf debris from the sidepods, was quick enough to return him to the fray in fifth, immediately behind his own team-mate and well set to maintain his challenge for victory.

The safety car returned to the pits at the end of lap 17 but, by then, both Bernoldi had seen his hopes of points vanish. The Brazilian made two stops under the yellow flag period to investigate a rear wheel problem, before retiring with what the Arrows team believed to be a hub problem.

Although Barrichello immediately leapt out to another strong lead once the race resumed, he was later critical of the decision to deploy the safety car, claiming that marshals should have been able to remove Villeneuve's car without the need for the field to be slowed. Knowing that he would need to make two stops, it was also curious why Ferrari failed to follow Williams' lead and call the Brazilian in, for it was but eight laps before he headed for more fuel, handing the advantage to his team-mate.

Although he had set no fewer than eight fastest laps by this point, Barrichello returned to the fray in sixth spot, behind both Williams and the two McLarens. Although Raikkonen had been sat behind Schumacher Sr throughout the pace car period, he was relegated back to fourth by one of the chasing Williams before Barrichello's stop would have promoted him into second overall. However, instead of it being the younger Schumacher who took advantage of the Finn's slip-up at the final chicane on lap 18, it was Montoya who managed to squeeze past both his team-mate and the McLaren by turn one to start his pursuit of the Ferraris.

The Colombian had taken just rear Michelins on his stop, and this lead was followed by Salo when the Toyota crew called him in for his stop, having reached the dizzy heights of tenth place. Sadly for the Finn, however, his chance of points would end there, as a problem with the front end of the TF102 saw him return for extra rubber, only for a faulty speed limiter to earn him a 'drive-thru' penalty and eventually do enough damage to force him out of the race altogether.

With the race now in his lap, as both his main rivals had to make at least as many stops as he had left, Schumacher began to turn up the wick, recording a fastest lap and gradually easing out the gap over the heavier Montoya, now in second spot. By the time of his sole stop, on lap 38, the German had done enough to ensure that he was within touching distance of the Colombian when he rejoined, despite being trapped behind Alex Yoong's Minardi on entrance and exit.

The race now effectively boiled down to a scrap between the two Ferraris and Montoya's Williams, even though Barrichello remained trapped behind Coulthard's McLaren in sixth place, and had another stop to make.

Of the rest of the top six, Ralf Schumacher was next to stop, ducking out of his pursuit of Raikkonen to take on fuel and tyres on lap 42. Sadly for the 2001 race winner, a problem with his fuel rig cost him valuable time, even though the Williams crew reacted quickly to the trouble, and forced him to make a second, unplanned stop, two laps later to ensure he got to the end of the 70 laps. The extra delay dropped the German out of the points, and he would spend the rest of the race trapped behind Jarno Trulli's Renault, scrapping for the final point until his engine blew as he crossed the line.

His brother also had company, as Raikkonen took advantage of the Ferrari's heavier fuel load to close on Schumacher Sr. The joust was to be interrupted by his own stop, however, and the Finn rejoined in fifth as both Coulthard and Barrichello passed him.

Both DC and the Brazilian still had a pit-call to make, but both made it back out in front of the second McLaren. Coulthard made the latest stop of all, waiting until lap 48 to call in for a top-up, allowing Barrichello to race onto the tail of the second-placed Schumacher before making a lightning stop for fuel. The decision not to take tyres was supposed to get the Brazilian out in front of Coulthard, but failed by the smallest of margins as McLaren passed Ferrari separated solely by the white lining between track and pit-lane.

The battle which ensued mirrored those up and down the field, as Trulli and Schumacher Jr, and Panis, Massa and Button scrapped over position. All would short-cut the chicane from time to time in their desire to gain ground, but only the Italian would ultimately score points for his effort.

Trulli's reward came as Montoya's pursuit of victory ended in a smoke cloud for the second race running. The Colombian had completed his final stop and rejoined seven seconds behind Schumacher, who had re-inherited the lead, and was straining the BMW V10 to its limits in the chase. Just as he appeared to be making inroads, however, everything proved fruitless, as the tell-tale signs of failure emerged as he exited the final chicane on lap 56. Parking at the end of pit-road, as Schumacher had done in the warm-up, it was a phlegmatic South American who trudged back to the garage.

His exit promoted the scrap between Coulthard and Barrichello into a fight for second, and both drivers showed their desire to finish as runner-up to the world champion. Barrichello believed his moment had arrived as, on lap 60, Coulthard wrongly anticipated lapping Takuma Sato at the hairpin. Trapped behind the Jordan as it made way for the duelling duo on the run back to the pits, DC saw Barrichello jink right and pull alongside with the chicane nearing. Instinctively, the Scot left his braking to the last second, but only succeeded in forcing both cars across the chicane run-off, regaining the lead on exit - much to Barrichello's annoyance.

There was nothing the Brazilian's finger waving could do, however, despite the pit-lane half expecting a penalty notice to be served by race control, and DC managed to hold on to the chequered flag. Words were exchanged in parc ferme and again during the press conference, but DC appears to have followed up his win in Monaco with an unlikely second in Canada.

Behind the pair, Raikkonen and Giancarlo Fisichella quietly made their way into the points. For the Finn, it was only a second finish in eight attempts since joining McLaren adding three valuable points to the four he took on debut in Melbourne back in March. Fisichella, however, has been enjoying greater fortune after a difficult start to the year, and duly collected his third straight fifth place finish.

The final point went to Trulli, who finally shook off the attentions of Schumacher Jr with two laps to run, the German braking late and taking to the grass at turn one. Added to the debris already in its sidepods, the Williams barely made it across the line before joining its sister in smoky demise.

Schumacher's fate was in stark contrast to his elder brother's, as Michael cruised to the line, easing back on revs and rubber and allowing Coulthard to close within two seconds at the flag, but never relinquishing control of his 59th career victory. With neither of his closest title rivals scoring, the German extended his points advantage to 43, with Coulthard and Barrichello closing in on the Williams twins in what is continuing to appear a one-sided contest.

Race results:

1. Michael Schumacher Germany Ferrari-Ferrari 70 laps 1hr 33min 36.111secs
2. David Coulthard Britain McLaren-Mercedes +1.132secs
3. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Ferrari-Ferrari +7.082secs
4. Kimi Raikkonen Finland McLaren-Mercedes +37.563secs
5. Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Jordan-Honda +42.812secs
6. Jarno Trulli Italy Renault-Renault +48.947secs

7. Ralf Schumacher Germany Williams-BMW +51.518secs
8. Olivier Panis France BAR-Honda +1 lap
9. Felipe Massa Brazil Sauber-Petronas +1 lap
10. Takuma Sato Japan Jordan-Honda +1 lap
11. Mark Webber Australia Minardi-Asiatech +1 lap
12. Nick Heidfeld Germany Sauber-Petronas +1 lap
13. Heinz-Harald Frentzen Germany Arrows-Cosworth +1 lap
14. Alex Yoong Malaysia Minardi-Asiatech +2 laps

Rtd Jenson Button Britain Renault-Renault 65 laps completed
Rtd Juan Montoya Colombia Williams-BMW 56 laps completed
Rtd Allan McNish Britain Toyota-Toyota 45 laps completed
Rtd Eddie Irvine Britain Jaguar-Cosworth 41 laps completed
Rtd Mika Salo Finland Toyota-Toyota 41 laps completed
Rtd Pedro de la Rosa Spain Jaguar-Cosworth 29 laps completed
Rtd Enrique Bernoldi Brazil Arrows-Cosworth 16 laps completed
Rtd Jacques Villeneuve Canada BAR-Honda 8 laps completed

Fastest lap:

Juan Montoya Williams-BMW 1min 15.960secs lap 50