Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Young Schu Puts Brother in Shade

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Young Schu Puts Brother in Shade

Article excerpt

Byline: By Ian Gordon

The world of Formula One racing witnessed a Schumacher at his crushing best in France yesterday - but it was not the five-time world champion Michael.

The Ferrari star was outpaced on the same Magny-Cours track where he clinched the drivers' crown in ridiculously early fashion last year by younger brother Ralf, who cruised to back-to-back wins for the first time in his career.

Schumacher junior completed a memorable eight days which have shocked the world title aspirations of his more illustrious sibling as he spearheaded a second one-two in a row for Williams-BMW with team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya.

The 70-lap race was soporific but it has set up a thrilling battle for the drivers' crown in the remaining six races with 17 points separating the top four drivers.

Reigning champion Schumacher extended his lead by one point to eight despite finishing almost 20 seconds adrift in third for Ferrari because McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen was one spot further back.

But his brother is now just 11 points behind after following up last weekend's victory at the European Grand Prix in Germany while Montoya consolidated fourth after taking the chequered flag just over 13 seconds later.

"I still can't believe the last eight days," said the younger Schumacher, who turned 28 last Monday, after the sixth win of his career.

"I have finally done it from pole position. I hope we can keep this momentum going even though we are now going to circuits that are tougher on our car.

"We are getting closer and closer to the Ferrari but for the moment I prefer not to think about our World Championship chances as things can change so quickly." Schumacher barely put a wheel out of place after powering away from pole with his only brief concern coming when he drifted on to the edge of the circuit late on.

Team chief Sir Frank Williams said: "Juan might have slipped through there had he been closer, but Ralf did a brilliant job. He was superb."

Montoya had closed the gap to barely more than a second before his third and final stop but could not get back out in front of his team-mate. He backed off in the closing stages knowing overtaking was impossible and his Ferrari rival was too far away to be a threat.

Schumacher admitted his Ferrari team have to get their act together before the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in two weeks' time although there is only this week's final test to discover what has gone wrong.

The 34-year-old's so-called supercar was never on the pace of the Williams or the McLarens of Raikkonen and David Coulthard, and he spent much of the race in fifth place.

Schumacher only got back into third after the McLarens hit heavy traffic and Coulthard was delayed at his final stop when he dragged his refuelling man to the ground following a problem with the rig. …

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