by Rob Wilkins.
Ferrari team leader Michael Schumacher led home team-mate Rubens Barrichello today [Sunday] at the Hungarian Grand Prix, in the process sealing the constructors' championship in true style for the Scuderia.
Schumacher headed the pack from start to finish, dominating a rather dull and uneventful race, and although the gap at the finish was only 4.6 seconds, the German eased off at the end such was his advantage.
Schumi can now clinch a record seventh drivers' crown at the next event in Belgium. This was also a record twelfth win for the German - the most anyone driver has ever achieved in one season.
For Ferrari it was their sixth consecutive constructors' title, and their fourteenth in total.
"The title means more than winning 12 races in a season and the fact this is the sixth in a row means more than the fact it is the 14th for the team," said Michael at the finish. "The way we achieved it is outstanding; we were so dominant, so perfect. To win in style here compared to last year shows why we have won the title so early."
Ferrari team boss, Jean Todt was also delighted.
"Today we have written another extraordinary page in this company's history book: six consecutive Constructors' titles and the certainty that one of our drivers will take the Drivers' title for a fifth consecutive time are dream results," he added. "The unknown factors before the race were the start and reliability and it all went well. We knew we had a very competitive car and exceptional Bridgestone tyres in terms of their performance over a long distance and the way the race turned out confirmed that. The drivers were fantastic and as usual the team did a great job."
Fernando Alonso meanwhile was a lonely third, to complete the podium, and although he was way off the Ferrari's - 44.5 seconds at the chequered flag - he had a comfortable 20 second margin over Juan Montoya, who was fourth for Williams-BMW.
"It was a pretty calm race for me, maybe a little bit lonely even," reflected the Renault driver. "The start was a bit close when [Takuma] Sato tried to block me and I had to brake a little, which might have cost me second position at the first corner. Once I was in third, though, it was just a matter of managing the gap to Montoya and maintaining a constant pace. I didn't make any mistakes, and neither did the team during the pit-stops. I am quite pleased to score my second podium in a row, and it was good to finish ahead of our main rivals."
Jenson Button took a solid fifth, despite so much attention this weekend, after his decision to leave BAR-Honda and join Williams, a move that is still subject to confirmation by the CRB [Contract Recognition Board].
Takuma Sato was sixth in the sister BAR-Honda, despite having started from third. The Japanese driver, lost out at the start, when the Renault's rocketed up the field, as they have so often done this season, indeed Alonso's storming start was the highlight of an otherwise boring race.
Team boss, David Richards did his best to put a positive spin on an event they have hoped they might even win.