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Schumi reigns in Spain

Barcelona: Five-time world champion Michael Schumacher resisted the intense pressure of Spanish racer Fernando Alonso to clinch his second successive victory of the season today when he won the Spanish Grand Prix.

Schumacher, driving the new Ferrari, led from start to finish and saw both the McLarens of Kimi Raikkonen and David Coulthard crash out in a dramatic afternoon at the Circuit de Catalunya.

But if he thought the misfortune of his traditional rivals would make for an easier afternoon, he was mistaken as Alonso, the 21-year-old Renault driver, pushed the German all the way to the finish after starting from third on the grid and was just 5.7 seconds behind at the chequered flag.

Although he had to eventually settle for second place, Alonso managed to hammer home his message and boost his growing reputation by relegating the other Ferrari of Rubens Barrichello to third place.

The Spaniard chipped away at Schumacher’s lead in the later stages of the race reducing the advantage to just over five seconds at one stage although that gap increased to over six after the final round of three pit stops with 15 laps left Schumacher is now in second place in the championship with 28 points, four behind Raikkonen after five races in the 16-event series.

Incredibly, Alonso is now third in the championship with 25 points.

McLaren suffered a miserable race with world championship leader Kimi Raikkonen as well as Coulthard crashing out.

Raikkonen’s McLaren smashed into the jaguar of Antonio Pizzonia on the start grid while Coulthard spun off on the 17th lap after trying and failing to get past fellow Briton Jenson Button.

At the halfway Schumacher had a 6.4-second lead over Alonso who had got past Barrichello after the first round of pit stops.

Raikkonen had started from the back of the grid having failed to set a qualifying time yesterday but he was immediately ruled out when he hit Pizzonia’s car which had stalled on the grid.

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