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Japanese Grand Prix
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Race Report - Results
Michael Schumacher wins his 11th race of the season
ahead of team-mate Rubens Barrichello. Kimi Raikkonen was 3rd ahead of Juan
Pablo Montoya while Takuma Sato managed to score his first points of the
season finishing 5th ahead of Jenson Button.
The race started with Michael Schumacher retaining his lead ahead of Rubens Barrichello and David Coulthard. Ralf Schumacher managed to get ahead of Kimi Raikkonen with Juan Pablo Montoya in 6th. Takuma Sato maintained 7th place but Jarno Trulli and Jenson Button jumped into 8th and 9th thanks to their superb launch control system.
Michael Schumacher immediately pulled a gap of 3 seconds within the first two laps of the race ahead of his team-mate Rubens Barrichello who couldn't really match Michael. David Coulthard managed to stay with Rubens Barrichello but a throttle problem forced him to retire early in the race.
Felipe Massa didn't do himself any favours when he crashed out early in the race. This was his last race for the Sauber team and possibly his last.
Following the first round of pit stops there were no changes in the order for the top 3 teams however the 2 Renaults had managed to get ahead of Takuma Sato and for a while it looked as if the Jordan team will remain in 8th place in the Constructors Championship.
The only close fight of the race was between Giancarlo Fisichella and Jacques Villeneuve fighting for 11th. The fight didn't last for long as Villeneuve retired with an engine failure and so did Fisichella 5 laps later!
Jarno Trulli retired just before his second stop while Jenson Button had a slow stop allowing Takuma Sato to retake 6th place after his second stop. At the front, the order remained with Michael Schumacher leading Rubens Barrichello and Ralf Schumacher.
The order remained the same until 5 laps from the end when Ralf Schumacher suffered a blown engine and retired. This moved Kimi Raikkonen into 3rd place ahead of Juan Pablo Montoya and Takuma Sato moved into 5th place ahead of Jenson Button.
Michael Schumacher went on to win the race and complete a
full season with podium finishes. He managed a record number of wins in a
single season with 11 and a record number of points with 144.
In the Drivers' Championship there were no changes at the top with Michael Schumacher securing the title ahead of his team-mate Rubens Barrichello. Juan Pablo Montoya managed 3rd ahead of his team-mate Ralf Schumacher while David Coulthard was 5th ahead of his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen. Jenson Button was 7th and the 'best of the rest' ahead of his team-mate Jarno Trulli while Eddie Irvine was 9th scoring all the points for the Jaguar team ahead of Nick Heidfeld in 10th.
In the Constructors' Championship, Ferrari clinched the title with a massive 221 points ahead of Williams and McLaren. Renault managed to achieve their target of 4th ahead of Sauber and Jordan. Jaguar, BAR, Minardi, Toyota and Arrows make the rest of the field.
So the 2002 season has come to an end. A season that is
highlighted by the dominance of the Ferrari team and their driver Michael
Schumacher. They have won 15 of the 17 races this season. Their partnership
with Bridgestone proved too strong for Williams and McLaren each winning just
one race this season.
Several drivers will not be returning to Formula 1 next
season. Only Mika Salo has confirmed his retirement but there remains a
question mark over Allan McNish, Felipe Massa, Eddie Irvine, Enrique Bernoldi,
Alex Yoong, Pedro de la Rosa. Their situation will become clearer during the
winter break and we'll keep you updated on the latest developments with driver
We hope that you've enjoyed our coverage of the 2002 season and we look forward to your visit in 2003.
Next race: The 2003 season - The Australian Grand Prix on the 9th of March 2003