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2003 United States Grand Prix 
Race Report  

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Drivers Championship Constructors Championship
Reports & Results from other sessions

Race Report - Results

Michael Schumacher wins the United States Grand Prix and nearly clinches the Drivers' Championship for a record 6th time. Kimi Raikkonen managed to finish second and keep a very small chance for him to win the Championship in Suzuka. Heinz Harald Frentzen finishes 3rd and moves the Sauber team from 9th to 5th. Jarno Trulli managed to finish 4th ahead of the second Sauber of Nick Heidfeld while Juan Pablo Montoya only managed 6th and with that his World Championship hopes evaporated. Giancarlo Fisichella was 7th and Justin Wilson managed not only to finish for the first time with Jaguar but also scored a point.

An unexpected result mainly due to changing weather conditions. The race started dry and Kimi Raikkonen had a good start and so did Olivier Panis, Ralf Schumacher and Michael Schumacher while Rubens Barrichello and Juan Pablo Montoya had bad starts. Again it was a case of starting on the clean or dirty side of the track.

Juan Pablo Montoya trying to make up positions tries to overtake Rubens Barrichello on the 3rd lap but they touch forcing Barrichello into a spin and retiring while Montoya lost 2 places as a result. Montoya later gets penalised a stop-go penalty for his actions. 

At the end of the 3rd lap the order was, Kimi Raikkonen ahead of Ralf Schumacher and Olivier Panis. Michael Schumacher, David Coulthard, Fernando Alonso, Jarno Trulli and Juan Pablo Montoya.

The rain starts and by the 5th lap the track was getting wet. A few drivers decide to pit for wets but the top contenders opt to stay on the track. The Bridgestone runners appeared to struggle under those conditions and Michael Schumacher started losing time and eventually David Coulthard and Juan Pablo Montoya get ahead.

By lap 10 the rain stops and the track appears to be drying. Kimi Raikkonen leads Ralf Schumacher with David Coulthard in 3rd ahead of Juan Pablo Montoya, Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher.

The first round of scheduled stops happen around lap 16 and Ralf Schumacher was the first of the leaders to pit which was surprising as the Williams were thought to be heavy. Juan Pablo Montoya and David Coulthard pit a lap later and Montoya's stop gets delayed due to a refuelling problem.
Fernando Alonso pits on lap 18  while Raikkonen pits on lap 19 and Michael Schumacher on lap 20. Meanwhile it starts to rain again but all the front runners take dry tyres on their first pit stops.

The rain this time though was heavier than the first time and on lap 22 most of the cars come in and switch to intermediates. Montoya however gets a stop-go penalty for his incident with Barrichello and serves his penalty and cannot change his tyres.

On the track Ralf Schumacher and Mark Webber spin out of the race as the conditions worsen and their dry tyres lose grip. 
Juan Pablo Montoya pits but takes on full wets and rejoins back in 11th place. David Coulthard opts to stay on dry tyres and loses a lot of time.

At the end of lap 25, the top 3 were Jenson Button, Heinz Harald Frentzen and Justin Wilson. Kimi Raikkonen was 4th ahead of Michael Schumacher in 5th.

Michael Schumacher on the Bridgestone intermediates catches and passes Kimi Raikkonen with relative ease on lap 28 as the Michelin intermediates were no match to the Bridgestone's under those conditions. 
A lap later Michael laps Montoya who was on full wet tyres but the track was starting to dry. The afternoon and championship were pretty much over for Juan Pablo Montoya then.

Michael Schumacher continues to slice his way through and by the 38th lap he took the lead from Jenson Button.
A few laps later, the strong run by Button ends as he suffers a blown engine.
Kimi Raikkonen pits on the 42nd lap for dry tyres and fuel

Order on lap 45 - Michael Schumacher leading Heinz Harald Frentzen by over 10 seconds. Nick Heidfeld was 3rd ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, Jarno Trulli, Fernando Alonso, Giancarlo Fisichella and Juan Pablo Montoya.

Fernando Alonso retires on lap 47 with a blown engine while Michael Schumacher makes his final pit stop for dry tyres and fuel. Frentzen takes the lead for a lap before he makes his second pit stop.
Nick Heidfeld in 3rd makes his final pit stop and Kimi Raikkonen moves into 3rd and catching Frentzen.

Kimi Raikkonen moves ahead of Heinz Harald Frentzen taking 2nd on lap 55 and keeping his chances alive. Michael Schumacher at the front leads by 20 seconds.
Meanwhile, Jarno Trulli takes 4th from Nick Heidfeld and Juan Pablo Montoya is catching Giancarlo Fisichella for 6th. 

Order on lap 63 - Michael Schumacher, Kimi Raikkonen, Heinz Harald Frentzen, Jarno Trulli, Nick Heidfeld, Giancarlo Fisichella, Juan Pablo Montoya and Justin Wilson.

Juan Pablo Montoya passes Giancarlo Fisichella on lap 68 and takes 6th but he needs to be 5th or better to keep a slim chance for the championship. He is too far back to catch Heidfeld and relies on a car in front retiring.
But that doesn't happen and Michael Schumacher goes on to win the race and almost clinches the title with Kimi Raikkonen in second ahead of Heinz Harald Frentzen and Jarno Trulli. Nick Heidfeld, Juan Pablo Montoya, Giancarlo Fisichella and Justin Wilson make the top 8.

So in the Drivers' Championship, Michael Schumacher now has 92 points and needs only to finish the Japanese Grand Prix in the points to clinch his 6th title regardless of where Kimi Raikkonen finishes. For Kimi who is now on 83 points, he has to win the race in Japan with Michael finishing out of the points.
Juan Pablo Montoya is out of contention as he is already 10 points behind Michael and even if he wins the next race and Michael is out of the points, Michael still wins based on more wins.
Ralf Schumacher, Rubens Barrichello, Fernando Alonso and David Coulthard all retain their positions in that order as they failed to score any points.

In the Constructors' Championship, Ferrari retake the lead with 147 points just ahead of Williams with 144 and McLaren with 128. This championship is very much alive and Williams and Ferrari will fight it out at Suzuka. McLaren are now out of contention.
Renault are firm in 4th with 84 points but behind them it is very close with Sauber now jumping into 5th with 19 points thanks to a 3-5 finish here while BAR remain with 18 and Jaguar are also with 18 points. Toyota dropped back to 8th with 14 points just ahead of Jordan with 13 points.

So whilst the Drivers' Championship is pretty much decided, the Constructors' is far from over and it will all be decided at the final round in Japan on the 12th of October.

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