. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Schumacher Triumphs With Ferrari

BARCELONA, Spain -- Double world champion Michael Schumacher claimed his first victory for Ferrari when he drove a superb race in atrocious conditions at the Spanish Grand Prix.


The German, who started from third position on Sunday's grid, took the lead after 12 laps of the 65-lap race and lapped the entire field, bar the two men who finished second and third behind him.


He won in one hour 59 minutes 49.307 seconds, having outclassed the rest of the field with an exceptional demonstration of his all-round supremacy in the treacherous wet conditions.


Frenchman Jean Alesi, in a Benetton, the last man to win a race for Ferrari at last year's Canadian Grand Prix, finished second, three seconds ahead of Canadian Jacques Villeneuve in a Williams.


Schumacher's winning margin over Alesi was only 45 seconds at the finish but at times it looked as if he was light years ahead.


Another German, Heinz-Harald Frentzen in a Sauber, was fourth, Mika Hakkinen of Finland in a McLaren was fifth, and Brazilian Pedro Diniz, driving a Ligier, sixth.


World championship leader Damon Hill of Britain failed to finish. He spun off twice in the early laps after starting from pole position in his Williams before finally crashing out on the 11th lap.


The victory clearly delighted Schumacher and the entire Ferrari camp. He punched the air with both fists while driving his lap of honor before taking the car into the pits amid scenes of unbridled delight. Schumacher lifted Ferrari sporting director Jean Todt off the ground in a bear hug before later attempting to drown him in champagne on the podium where King Juan Carlos of Spain presented the prizes with the rain still pouring down.


It was Schumacher's 20th win in only his 76th Grand Prix but his first since clinching the constructors' title for Benetton last season at the Japanese Grand Prix.


It was also the first win for Ferrari for 18 races, going back almost a full year, and their first in a Spanish Grand Prix since Frenchman Alain Prost triumphed at Jerez in 1990.


It was also Ferrari's 106th overall victory, lifting them two wins clear of McLaren in the all time record books.


Only six of the 20 starters completed the race as the extremely difficult conditions claimed a series of spinning and crashing victims. Schumacher's win lifted him to joint second in the battle for the drivers' championship with 26 points, level with Villeneuve, while Hill's lead was trimmed to a still considerable 17 points.


Schumacher was delighted. "If anyone had asked me how much I would bet on me winning here I would have said not one penny. After qualifying we were no way near to the Williams and even in the warm-up the car was not very good," he said.


"We made a few improvements after that and we pushed it to the limit, but I really did not think we would win. I had a terrible start. I stalled and I had another go before I got away. Then I had to pass a lot of cars on the first lap and the car felt absolutely perfect."


Schumacher said he thought that the race should have been started under a pace car, and not by normal means with the lights, because of the hazardous conditions.


"This was the perfect opportunity to do it," he said. "Where I was on the first lap it was very difficult."


Alesi said he was pleased with his second place, but complained his Benetton team had made a mistake with their strategy by choosing to stop only once. He also complained about a lack of power from his engine caused by spray from Villeneuve's car when he was close behind him. Hill was despondent after his accident. "It was a bad day for me. I made two mistakes and then a third because of the conditions but in some ways I am pleased to be out of the race.


"It was very difficult to see anything and I had plenty of problems."


n


Michael Andretti's choice of stickier tires gave him the grip he needed to overtake Al Unser, Jr and win the Milwaukee 200 IndyCar race.


Andretti averaged 206.444 kph in his Lola Ford Cosworth, finishing .019 seconds ahead of Unser's Penske Mercedes-Benz Ilmor, thanks to a late re-start in a race Sunday that concluded under a caution flag.


Unser's teammate, Canadian Paul Tracy, was the only other driver to hold a lead in the 200-lap race at the Milwaukee Mile oval track and finished third.


Brazilian Emerson Fittipaldi in another Penske Mercedes-Benz Ilmor, and Greg Moore of Canada in a Reynard Mercedes-Benz Ilmor finished fourth and fifth, respectively.


Unser had dominated the race, leading twice for a total of 98 laps, and was running first, more than five seconds ahead of Andretti, when the third caution was raised on lap 188.


When the green came out with six laps remaining, Andretti passed Unser on the outside of turn two.


"I just went for it, my car stuck and his didn't," said the elated Andretti after his second victory this year, fifth at this track and 32nd in his career -- the most for any active driver in the IndyCar series.


(For other results, see Scorecard.)