Barrichello wins US Grand Prix

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Payback was sweet for Michael Schumacher and even sweeter for Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello. Barrichello was delighted-and surprised-to find himself the

Updated: February 25, 2007 09:28 IST
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Payback was sweet for Michael Schumacher and even sweeter for Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello. Barrichello was delighted-and surprised-to find himself the winner of the United States Grand Prix on Sunday. A race in which he chased teammate Michael Schumacher without much success for all but the last two of the 73 laps at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. When Schumacher slowed to let Barrichello catch him, it was the opposite of what happened on May 12 in Austria. That was the day Barrichello-obeying team orders-allowed Schumacher by on the final straightaway at the A1-Ring for the victory. At the time, Schumacher had yet to clinch his fifth Formula One title. "Today was a payback and I'm completely happy with the situation,'' Barrichello said of the finish that will likely cause a wave of criticism like the one that followed the Austrian race. "We were going for it. We were fighting,'' Barrichello said of the finish. "I pushed every button I could to pass him. At the end, we were close together. If people want to think I won Austria and he won Indy, that's it.'' The two red cars were side-by-side as they crossed the yard of bricks that designate the finish line on the oval portion of the speedway's 2.606-mile (4.19-kilometer), 13-turn road course. Barrichello won by 0.011 seconds, the closest finish in Formula One since Peter Gethin beat Ronnie Peterson by 0.01 second in the 1971 Italian Grand Prix. The official timing was recorded only to hundredths of a second at that time. "It took me three-quarters of a lap to realize I'd won because I was pointing at him and he was pointing at me,'' Barrichello said. At Indy, Schumacher, who secured the championship in July, was fastest in every practice, set a track record in qualifying, and was nearly untouchable in the race. With a four-second lead and just four laps remaining, it appeared he was on the way to an easy victory that would have been his record 11th of the season. That's what made the finish so surprising. As the leaders shot out of the last turn onto the main straightaway, Schumacher slowed perceptibly, and Barrichello pulled alongside. The cars crossed the finish line together with the more than 100,000 fans standing and roaring. The teammates hugged after climbing out of their cars. "I got to the last corner and I didn't know what to do," Barrichello said. "Nothing had been said. Michael was just very kind to let us finish equally. I think it's 0-0 now." Schumacher, who has been the overwhelming presence in F1 this season, played coy when asked if he let his teammate win this time. "There wasn't any plan,'' Schumacher insisted. "But I didn't feel particularly happy with what happened in Austria. To be honest, with what happened here, I feel it has been somewhat equalized. Life is to be honest and to be fair, and that's what I want to be," Schumacher said. "I felt he deserved to win this race." The Brazilian driver pushed Schumacher most of the race but, other than a few laps during pit-stop sequences, was unable to get to the front. Towards the end, Schumacher began pulling away. Barrichello's fourth victory of the season assured him of second place in the season standings. There is one race left: October 13 in Japan. It was Ferrari's 14th victory in 16 races this season. Dave Coulthard ran a strong race in his McLaren-Mercedes but was unable to get close to the Ferraris and finished third, closing to 7.7 seconds at the end. Juan Pablo Montoya survived a second-lap collision with Williams-BMW teammate Ralf Schumacher and finished fourth, followed by Jarno Trulli and Jacques Villeneuve, the last driver on the lead lap. Montoya, like Villeneuve a former Indianapolis 500 winner, got a bad start and fell behind Ralf Schumacher, Michael's younger brother. On the second lap, the two raced down the main straightaway and into the first turn side-by-side, battling for fourth place. Ralf Schumacher's car slammed off a curb and went sideways, hitting Montoya's car. The collision knocked the rear wing off Schumacher's car, but Montoya's was barely slowed. "There wasn't enough room,'' Schumacher said. ``I am going to have to watch the TV to get a clear picture of what happened.'' Montoya's finish allowed him to remain in third place in the standings, five points ahead of his teammate and six in front of Coulthard. (AP)

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