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Race report - San Marino 20 Apr 2003

Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari F2002 leads Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Ferrari F2002.
Formula One World Championship, Rd4, San Marino Grand Prix, Race Day, Imola, Italy, 20 April 2003

Michael Schumacher chose to race at San Marino, having been given the option by Ferrari management to miss the race, following the death of his mother last night. It must have been a difficult decision, but it was the right one - he won a comprehensive victory.

For Ferrari, a three-stop strategy worked almost perfectly. Only brother Ralf, starting from the other front row slot for BMW Williams, headed Schumacher in comparable circumstances, the younger German leading the first 16 laps until his first of three refuelling stops. After that Michael had things almost exclusively his own way, stopping on laps 18, 34 and 49 and thereafter romping home to a comfortable - but emotional - triumph.

Ralf's afternoon was less rewarding, as he dropped back behind Kimi Raikkonen's McLaren Mercedes, which ran to a two-stop strategy to take second place, and the hard-charging Rubens Barrichello. The Brazilian was delayed by a sticking left front wheel during his final stop on lap 50, but burst back to outfox Ralf, taking third place on final corner of the 52nd lap, to the delight of the partisan crowd. Nevertheless, Schumacher Jnr's fourth place was a fillip for BMW Williams on an afternoon when Juan Pablo Montoya could only finish seventh after a problem with his refuelling rig.

Barrichello's chase after Raikkonen enlivened the final moments, but the Finn's second place earned him eight points to maintain his world championship lead. He has 32 points to the 19 of team-mate David Coulthard who was disappointed with only fifth place. Michael Schumacher's victory has put him in third place with 18 points.

The remaining points went to Fernando Alonso with sixth place for Renault, and Jenson Button, eighth for BAR Honda.