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Why Schumacher lost 09 Mar 2003

Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) McLaren Mercedes MP4/17 and Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari go into turn 1 side by side
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Race Day, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, 9 March 2003

Michael Schumacher started the race on Bridgestone wet tyres that were no match for the grooved Michelins as the track began to dry out, and after an enforced stop on lap seven to switch to grooved rubber, his prospects looked less than rosy as he dropped to ninth place.

But then out came the safety car, after team-mate Barrichello and Ralph Firman had crashed.

After 12 laps Schumacher was fighting for second with Trulli, brother Ralf and Kimi Raikkonen, as they chased Juan Pablo Montoya. Six laps later, this became a battle for the lead that continued until Schumacher refuelled on lap 29. Raikkonen did likewise on lap 33, and by lap 37 they were locked in battle again, this time for second place behind Montoya.

Heading for Turn One on the 38th lap, Schumacher actually edged ahead on the outside line, but Raikkonen held firm and Schumacher took a trip over the kerb. It was enough to dislodge his Ferrari's barge boards, which both became trapped beneath the car. The champion's swerving efforts to dislodge them proved fruitless, but by supreme irony they had finally fallen off when he obeyed a black and orange flag and pitted, still in the lead, on the 46th lap.

He rejoined quickly, but all hope of victory had by then evaporated.