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Italian GP 2002 - Rubens does the 2002 hatrick

15 September 2002


Rubens Barrichello won the Italian Grand Prix today at Monza, beating Ferrari team-mate Michael Schumacher by 2.255 seconds.

It was the Brazilian's third win of 2002 and his fourth in total, achieved at Ferraris home track in front of the fanatical 'tifosi'.

The race itself was a fairly predictable affair and after the excitement of yesterday's qualifying and the prospect that BMW WilliamsF1 might make things difficult for the Prancing Horse, any such hopes disappeared in the first few laps.

At the start Juan Pablo Montoya, made a poor start from pole and cut across the front of Michael Schumacher, in his bid to remain out front. His team-mate, Ralf Schumacher though capitalised on the swerve across the track and as the first corner approached the two BMW WilliamsF1's were side-by-side.

It was then that the two nearly collided, somehow though they avoided contact and after cutting across the apex, Ralf Schumacher took the lead, with Juan Pablo Montoya second and Rubens Barrichello third. The Brazilian passed his team-mate after the five time F1 World Champion was forced to back off prior to the first corner, Michael was boxed in by the two Williams and had no choice but to get off the gas.

In the first three laps Ralf pulled away and built up a small lead, a lead which at this point looked likely to be threatened by the Stewards, after the German had missed the first corner and gained an unfair advantage by over-taking his team-mate.

On lap three though it all proved academic - and although Ralf later claimed he was moving over to let JPM through, the team having received instructs from the Stewards - it made no difference, an engine blow up ending his race and also ending any hopes of an entertaining race.

In the confusion, although Montoya passed Ralf before the blow up, the Colombian appeared to have been delayed and with Rubens Barrichello all over the back of him, the Ferrari No. 2 driver took his chance and passed the Williams for the lead.

After that Barrichello set several fastest laps and took his first pit stop on lap 18. By this time the Brazilian had nearly a 20 second lead and although he lost the lead to a one-stopping Michael Schumacher, Rubinho did enough during his second stint, to build up a 27 second cushion and later exit the pit stops after his second and last stop to remain in front. It was a close call though, and Michael Schumacher was breathing down his neck as the Brazilian exited the pits.

From then on though the two Ferraris circled lap after lap in formation, letting many much slower cars un-lap themselves and at the chequered flag a delighted Barrichello took the win and another 10 points, to further consolidate his second place in the drivers' championship. Rubens now leads Montoya by 17 points, with only 20 left up for grabs.

As for JPM's race it was pretty much compromised following the exit of Ralf. First he lost the lead to Barrichello, and then seemingly flustered the Colombian pushed beyond his limits going off the track and across the gravel trap. Although he could continue, Michael Schumacher soon passed him and by lap six the two Ferraris were 1-2.

To make matters worse the off had caused considerable aerodynamic damage and the Colombia's pace suffered as a result. For the next few laps a solid podium place looked likely, yet even this consolation prize was to be denied. 18 laps from the end JPM pulled off with front suspension damaged, perhaps caused by his earlier off, ending a dreadful race that had had such potential.

Former Ferrari driver Eddie Irvine completed the podium celebrations, the Jaguar driver completed a brilliant weekend for 'The Cat' and gave the team only their second ever podium finish. Jaguar had been on the pace all weekend and this is now further proof, following the team's performance at the Belgium Grand Prix, that the outfit is on the up.

Renault duo Jarno Trulli and Jenson Button also had a storming GP, Trulli going especially well after starting from the back of the grid. The Italian had qualified 11th, but was forced to start behind the Minardi's after his Renault R202, failed to engage first gear before the field left for the warm-up lap. His team-mate, Button also went well to claim fifth, and like Trulli started right down the field, the Brit having only qualified 17th.

BAR's Olivier Panis took the final points scoring position, while his team-mate Jacques Villeneuve came home ninth. David Coulthard was seventh, and the only McLaren to finish. His race was spoiled after he damaged his front wing on the opening lap, the Scot was thus forced to fight his way back up the field from the back and try as he did, he couldn't break into the top six and a points scoring position. His team-mate, Finn Kimi Raikkonen went out around mid-distance, a blow up again ending his chances while running in a strong points scoring position.

Jordan's Giancarlo Fisichella was forced to settle for eighth and despite running in the top six at times, never really looked likely to score a point. Takuma Sato had a quiet race in the second EJ12 and brought the car home an unremarkable 12th.

Sauber's dip in form continued, and following on from a poor qualifying performace, Nick Heidfeld had to make do with tenth. At least he finished though, his team-mate Felipe Massa retired after a coming together with Jaguar's Pedro de la Rosa. The Jaguar suffered broken front suspension in the incident, while Massa's compromised the Sauber's back suspension - a day to forget for all three drivers.

Toyota had an encouraging race even if the final results fail to reflect it. Allan McNish looked set to at least score his first F1 point and in the early laps was running a strong sixth on a one-stop strategy keeping ahead of the two-stopping BAR of Olivier Panis. It was not to be however and McNish was the first retirement of the day, front suspension problems leaving the Scot on the sidelines after only 13 laps.

His team-mate Mika Salo also looked set to score a point or two, however exciting the pits following his fuel-tyre stop the Finn crossed the white line separating the pit exit from the racing line, his 10 second penalty dropped him down the order to his eventual 11th place finish.

As for the Minardis, Mark Webber retired on lap 20 and his team-mate Alex Yoong finished 6 laps down after a technical problem delayed him in the pits.

So then, it was another Ferrari one-two, and while it will keep the 'tifosi' happy, what about the rest of us?...Oh well at least Rubens won instead of Michael - some consolation.



Race Result:

1. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Ferrari-Ferrari 53 laps 1hr 16mins 19.982secs
2. Michael Schumacher Germany Ferrari-Ferrari +02.255secs
3. Eddie Irvine Britain Jaguar-Cosworth +52.579secs
4. Jarno Trulli Italy Renault-Renault +58.219secs
5. Jenson Button Britain Renault-Renault +1min 07.770secs
6. Olivier Panis France BAR-Honda +1min 08.491secs

7. David Coulthard Britain McLaren-Mercedes +1min 09.047secs
8. Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Jordan-Honda +1min 10.891secs
9. Jacques Villeneuve Canada BAR-Honda +1min 21.068secs
10. Nick Heidfeld Germany Sauber-Petronas +1min 22.046secs
11. Mika Salo Finland Toyota-Toyota +1 lap
12. Takuma Sato Japan Jordan-Honda +1 lap
13. Alex Yoong Malaysia Minardi-Asiatech +6 laps

Rtd. Juan Montoya Colombia Williams-BMW +20 laps
Rtd. Kimi Raikkonen Finland McLaren-Mercedes +24 laps
Rtd. Mark Webber Australia Minardi-Asiatech +33 laps
Rtd. Felipe Massa Brazil Sauber-Petronas +37 laps
Rtd. Pedro de la Rosa Spain Jaguar-Cosworth +38 laps
Rtd. Allan McNish Britain Toyota-Toyota +40 laps
Rtd. Ralf Schumacher Germany Williams-BMW +49 laps



Fastest lap:

Rubens Barrichello Ferrari 1min 23.657secs





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