Schumacher steers new Ferrari home

World champion Michael Schumacher gave his new Ferrari a winning debut in Spain as title leaders McLaren were reduced to mere spectators.

World champion Michael Schumacher gave his new Ferrari a winning debut in Spain as title leaders McLaren were reduced to mere spectators.

Michael Schumacher, the winner, with team-mate Rubens Barrichello, who placed third, on the podium. -- Pic. CLIVE MASON/GETTY IMAGES-

Schumacher, atoning for his worst start to a season, claimed his second successive triumph for the 66th victory of a record-breaking Formula One career.

In an unforgettable afternoon for the thousands of Spanish supporters, Fernando Alonso finished his home race in second place for Renault.

Schumacher's win lifted him up to second place overall, four points adrift of McLaren's championship leader Kimi Raikkonen, who crashed on the start grid and could not add to his tally of 32 after five races.

The German, whose mother died on the morning of his last win in Italy, leaped and let the champagne flow at last as he showered Alonso and Ferrari team-mate Rubens Barrichello with spray.

"I was thinking it was going to be a tough race, I was expecting a very tough fight (with Alonso) and it was," Schumacher told ITV television.

"But I think we are happy to be here with the new car because I think the old car wouldn't have been able to make it. It's (the new car) very special and it's fanastic what they've done."

Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya was fourth for Williams, ahead of team-mate Ralf Schumacher and Brazilian rookie Cristiano da Matta in Toyota's first points finish of the year.

Australian Mark Webber handed Jaguar their first points in seventh place, while Briton Ralph Firman, criticised in some quarters for his form before the race, opened his career scoresheet with eighth place in a Jordan.

Alonso, still just 21, became the first Spanish driver to score a point in his home race and his stunning drive further enhanced his reputation as a champion in waiting.

He punched the air in utter jubilation as he crossed the finish for the best result of his fledgling career and third podium of the year.

The prizegiving took place without Raikkonen for the first time this year after the Finn shunted Brazilian Antonio Pizzonia's Jaguar when the lights went out.

Raikkonen and team-mate David Coulthard, second before Sunday's race, were both out of their cars after just 18 of the 65 scheduled laps. The Finn had been relegated to the back of the grid by a mistake in qualifying on Saturday and, as he accelerated forwards, Pizzonia appeared to stall.

The accident was charged with irony, McLaren and Jaguar locked all week in a tug-of-war for the services of McLaren's Austrian test driver Alexander Wurz as a replacement for the under-performing Brazilian.

McLaren's nightmare continued when Coulthard went into the gravel at the second corner on the first lap. He re-entered the race last under the safety car and was 11th when his race finished on lap 18.

The results (Spanish Grand Prix, 4.73-kilometre, 2.93-mile, Circuit de Catalunya over 65 laps): 1. Michael Schumacher, Germany, Ferrari, 1 hour, 33 minutes, 46.933 seconds, 65 laps, average speed 196.619 kph (122.18 mph); 2. Fernando Alonso, Spain, Renault, 1:33:52.649, 65; 3. Rubens Barrichello, Brazil, Ferrari, 1:34.04.934, 65; 4. Juan Pablo Montoya, Colombia, Williams-BMW, 1:34.48.955, 65; 5. Ralf Schumacher, Germany, Williams-BMW, 1:33.55.791, 64; 6. Cristiano Da Matta, Brazil, Toyota, 1:33:56.150, 64; 7. Mark Webber, Australia, Jaguar, 1:34:02.928, 64; 8. Ralph Firman, Ireland, Jordan-Ford, 1:33.57.593, 63; 9. Jenson Button, Britain, BAR-Honda, 1:34:09.907, 63; 10. Nick Heidfeld, Germany, Sauber Petronas, 1:34:10.822, 63; 11. Justin Wilson, Britain, Minardi-Cosworth, 1:34:57.072, 63; 12. Jos Verstappen, Netherlands, Minardi-Cosworth, 1:34:36.773, 62.

Drivers' Standings (after five races): 1. Kimi Raikkonen, Finland, McLaren, 32 points; 2. Michael Schumacher, Germany, Ferrari, 28; 3. Fernando Alonso, Spain, Renault, 25; 4. Rubens Barrichello, Brazil, Ferrari, 20; 5. David Coulthard, Britain, McLaren, 19; 6. Ralf Schumacher, Germany, Williams, 17; 7. Juan Pablo Montoya, Colombia, Williams, 15; 8. Giancarlo Fisichella, Italy, Jordan Ford, 10; 9. Jarno Trulli, Italy, Renault, 9; 10. Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Germany, Sauber Petronas, 7; 11. Jacques Villeneuve, Canada, BAR, 3, Jenson Button, Britain, BAR, 3, Cristiano Da Matta, Brazil, Toyota, 3, 14. Mark Webber, Australia, Jaguar, 2, 15. Ralph Firman, Ireland, Jordan-Ford, 1, Nick Heidfeld, Germany, Sauber Petronas, 1.

Constructors' standings: 1. McLaren Mercedes, 51 points; 2. Ferrari, 48; 3. Renault, 34; 4. Williams BMW, 32; 5. Jordan Ford, 11; 6. Sauber Petronas, 8; 7. BAR Honda, 6; 8. Toyota, 3; 9. Jaguar, 2.