Ferrari number one driver Michael Schumacher has stormed to his eighth win of the season today [Sunday], at the United States Grand Prix, an event, which witnessed a horror crash, which hospitalised his brother, Ralf.

Ralf went off in the early stages of the race, the German crashing heavily in turn 13, on the banked part of the track.

His Williams-BMW FW26 got out of shape before the turn and then proceeded to smash heavily into the concrete wall. Although he escaped with just bruising, Ralf will remain in hospital tonight, under observation.

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"Thankfully Ralf will be ok," said Williams technical director, Sam Michael, "He had a puncture, which caused him to crash."

"Ralf is OK and that is the most important thing today," added his brother, Michael, "I was very concerned when I saw him in the car for so long. Then the team told me on the radio that he was okay. That helped me big time, because I could see how hard he must have hit the wall."

Rubens Barrichello meanwhile had to make do with second, despite starting from pole - the Brazilian finished 2.9 seconds behind his Scuderia team-mate.

"I am happy to leave North America with sixteen points, but a little bit disappointed as I felt I could have won both here and in Canada," he said. "My car was excellent today, but when the Safety Car came in, my tyre pressures were too low and I got wheelspin at the final corner, which is why Michael was able to slipstream me and get past as I could not close the door.

"I also lost some positions in my first pit stop, but I was pushing really hard. I also hit something on the track at one point at a blind exit to a corner and felt a big bang. The car turned left and I though the suspension was broken. Then after my final stop, I was able to attack Michael on my new tyres, but he closed the door fairly. I am now keener than ever to win a race as soon as possible."

Takuma Sato was third, to claim his first ever podium in Formula One, the BAR-Honda driver, a further 20 seconds adrift, while Jarno Trulli fought back to fourth, after having to start from the back of the grid.

"This is an incredible feeling," commented Taku at the finish, "A result we have worked hard for and pushed so hard to achieve for so long. I feel very proud for the team, Honda and all the partners. They have been pushing so hard to try to resolve the problems I have been experiencing. I had a strong race and the car just felt beautiful. It was so consistent so I have to thank Michelin for all their efforts too."

"I did my best today from last on the grid," said Trulli. "I made the most of the start to gain lots of positions, then we brought my first stop forward during the second safety car period, a move that paid off later in the race. I pushed all the way, but Sato was catching me during the last stint - I was really on the limit, and the lap before he overtook me, I went off. Then, there were flags in the banking because of oil on the track so I lifted, and he passed me into the first corner. Of course, I am slightly disappointed to not finish on the podium, but when you look at where I started, this is a very good result."

Olivier Panis was fifth for Toyota, with McLaren duo, Kimi Raikkonen and David Coulthard, sixth and seventh respectively.

"An eventful day for everybody at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway," stated McLaren boss, Ron Dennis, "Both Kimi and David were on strong strategies in an incident-filled race and were able to run competitively. There is no doubt that Kimi could have finished on the podium had his race not been badly hampered by a faulty engine air compressor, which forced him to make two unscheduled stops. David had to make an additional stop after a piece of polystyrene debris lodged itself underneath the car. At least we managed to score five points, which is a small consolation in a race where we would have been truly competitive."

The final point went to Zsolt Baumgartner, who claimed not only his first point, but also the first for Minardi in 41 races.

"This race had everything, and when a team like Minardi that struggles so hard against the odds scores a point, it is an occasion for great celebration," said Stoddart. "As for Zsolt, what can I say?

"He has driven with tremendous maturity all weekend and his pace has been strong and consistent. Today's result was just reward for a gritty performance because, as we all know, to finish first, first you have to finish. As the first Hungarian Formula One driver to score a World Championship point, he will go down in history, and it couldn't happen to a nicer guy. To all the people on the team who work week in and week out for so little reward, I can only say 'well done'!"

Only nine runners were classified at the finish, Giancarlo Fisichella, eight laps down, the 'Brickyard' seeing a race of massive attrition, with ten drivers retiring, while Juan Pablo Montoya was black-flagged on lap 57 - due to a technicality.

"The reason for Juan Pablo's black flag," explained Sam Michael, "is that when we tried to start the engine on the grid, the starter would not engage into the back of the car and we decided therefore that Juan Pablo should get into the T-car. However, according to the FIA's article number 85 Juan Pablo would need to have left the grid within 15 seconds before the start of the formation lap and we were a few seconds too late."

Other drivers to crash out included Fernando Alonso, who went out on lap 8, with a puncture going into turn 1, while four drivers were eliminated at the start, namely Felipe Massa, Christian Klien, Cristiano da Matta and Gianmaria Bruni.

"I think I made a good start and I was trying to be very careful in Turn One," explained Massa, "Suddenly I found Klien broadside across the road after some other cars crashed, and there was no way to avoid him. Once again, I was a passenger."

F1 now returns to Europe for the French GP at Magny Cours, in two weeks time.

Race result:

1. Michael Schumacher Germany Ferrari-Ferrari 73 laps 1hr 40mins 29.914secs
2. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Ferrari-Ferrari +02.9secs
3. Takuma Sato Japan BAR-Honda +22.0secs
4. Jarno Trulli Italy Renault-Renault +34.5secs
5. Olivier Panis France Toyota-Toyota +37.5secs
6. Kimi Raikkonen Finland McLaren-Mercedes +1 lap
7. David Coulthard Britain McLaren-Mercedes +1 lap
8. Zsolt Baumgartner Hungary Minardi-Cosworth +3 laps

9 Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Sauber-Petronas +8 laps

Rtd Mark Webber Australia Jaguar-Cosworth 60 laps completed
Rtd Nick Heidfeld Italy Jordan-Ford 43 laps completed
Rtd Jenson Button Britain BAR-Honda 26 laps completed
Rtd Cristiano da Matta Brazil Toyota-Toyota 17 laps completed
Rtd Ralf Schumacher Germany Williams-BMW 9 laps completed
Rtd Fernando Alonso Spain Renault-Renault 8 laps completed
Rtd Christian Klien Austria Jaguar-Cosworth 0 laps completed
Rtd Felipe Massa Brazil Sauber-Petronas 0 laps completed
Rtd. Giorgio Pantano Italy Jordan-Ford 0 laps completed
Rtd Gianmaria Bruni Italy Minardi-Cosworth 0 laps completed

Exc Juan Montoya Colombia Williams-BMW Black flagged