Schumacher wins U.S. Grand Prix
INDIANAPOLIS — Michael Schumacher is the U.S. Grand Prix champion again. Now, he has to wait two weeks for a chance at a record sixth Formula One title.
Schumacher took the lead for good after his final pit stop with 25 laps remaining and pulled away to win the U.S. Grand Prix by 18.2 seconds over pole-sitter Kimi Raikkonen on Sunday.
The victory, his second at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and record 70th of his career, raised his lead in the points series. He is ahead of Raikkonen, 92-83, with sixth-place finisher Juan Pablo Montoya right behind at 82.
“Obviously, it’s a very good position for us to start the last race,” Schumacher said. “We just need one point, basically, but you first have to finish. My target will be to win another race.”
Schumacher can clinch the F1 championship by finishing seventh or better in the season’s final race Oct. 12 in Japan. An eighth-place finish would guarantee at least a tie for the title.
Schumacher, who shares the record of five championships with Juan Manuel Fangio, started seventh after a disappointing qualifying run on Saturday. But he never fell far behind the leaders, survived a flurry of pit stops for rain tires and passed Jenson Button for the lead on the 38th of the 73 laps on the Speedway’s 2.605-mile road course.
He lost the lead only once after that, but regained it again on the next lap when leader Heinz-Harald Frentzen came into the pits. Raikkonen passed Frentzen for second place on the 55th lap, but he was more than 20 seconds behind Schumacher and was unable to catch him in the closing laps.
Frentzen finished third, 37.9 seconds behind Schumacher. Jarno Trulli was fourth, another 10 seconds back.
Raikkonen, who started from the pole for only the second time in his career, led the race until his first pit stop on the 19th lap, giving Schumacher his first lead. But an early drizzle turned into a heavy rain, forcing all the cars into the pits to change tires, and Raikkonen never led again.
“We were very unlucky with the weather, but what can you do?” Raikkonen said. “We got second place. Of course, it’s not the best, because Michael won. It’s making it a lot more difficult (for the final race).”
CART — In Miami, Mario Dominguez was the surprising winner of CART’s Grand Prix of the Americas, benefiting from a late crash that knocked leaders Adrian Fernandez and Bruno Junqueira from contention.
This was the second career victory for Dominguez, who became the first driver to start outside the first two rows and win a CART race this season. The Mexican started the day in eighth place.
Entering the day, Dominguez had not led a single lap on a road or street course this season.
Roberto Moreno, Dominguez’s Herdez teammate, earned his first top-three finish of the year, coming in second on Miami’s tight 1.15-mile temporary street circuit. Rookie Mika Salo held off American Jimmy Vasser for third.
All five of the drivers atop the starting grid experienced some kind of significant problem during the race. Fernandez, the pole-sitter, was knocked from the front on the 97th lap, when Junqueira locked his brakes, slid into Fernandez’s car and sent them both skidding and stalling into a corner.
Oriol Servia, who started third, was finished after crashing into a wall on the 44th lap. And the fourth and fifth starters, Sebastien Bourdais and Tracy, were taken out midway through the race when Tracy brushed tires with the rookie. That sent them both careening out of control and causing heavy damage to each car.