| Rubens Barrichello with the trophy at Silverstone on Sunday. (Reuters)
Silverstone: Ferrari’s Rubens Barrichello clinched victory in the British Grand Prix here on Sunday in a race that had been plunged into chaos by a kilt-wearing protestor who ran onto the track in the face of cars speeding past at 200 kmph and tragedy in the death of a driver in a support race.
Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya, in a Williams was second, 5.4 seconds behind, with Finn Kimi Raikkonen, in a McLaren, third.
Michael Schumacher, in the second Ferrari, was fourth and retains his lead in the championship, with David Coulthard, in a McLaren, in fifth followed by Renault’s Jarno Trulli, Toyota’s Cristiano Da Matta and Jenson Button, who had started at the back of the field, in a BAR-Honda.
Ralf Schumacher, in a Williams, had started in fourth place but never recovered from the protest and finished ninth.
But Barrichello’s stunning win, his first of the season and sixth of his career, will be overshadowed by the idiotic 11th lap protest which brought shame to the security operation here.
The man, dressed in kilt and sporran and with signs hanging around his neck, ran on to the track on the 11th lap at Chapel corner. He strolled down the track as the cars took evasive action, was wrestled to the ground by stewards and led away. An inquiry has been ordered.
In a tragic accident, a driver taking part in a support race died after a heavy crash. David Heynes, 56, from Oxfordshire, was competing in the Historic Sportscar Challenge when he crashed his Lotus into a tyre wall at the Becketts Corner.
He received treatment at the scene and at the circuit medical centre where he was pronounced dead.
In the main race, the safety car was called out for the second time and as most of the leading contenders took pit stops, Brazil’s Da Matta, who had stopped when the safety car had been summoned earlier, took his chance to lead a Grand Prix for the first time in his career. When he pitted again on the 30th lap, Raikkonen took the lead ahead of Barrichello with Williams in third.
The Finn then stopped for a second time allowing Barrichello to retake the lead on the 42nd lap to cap an incredible fightback by the Brazilian who had started on pole, lost the lead, sank to seventh place when the protestor arrived before battling back to the top spot.
The intervention of the fan was a heartbreaking sight for Trulli who had snatched the lead at the start while the unscheduled round of pit stops also saw Michael Schumacher and brother Ralf slip to the back of the pack.
Trulli had stormed into the lead, thanks to a blistering start which left Barrichello shell-shocked. Trulli, without a win in his previous 106 races, got in front of Barrichello as did Raikkonen who leapt from third to second.
Barrichello was third, with Ralf Schumacher, in a Williams, fourth and world champion Michael Schumacher in fifth in his Ferrari.
On the fifth lap, the safety car was out to clear debris off the track. The mess had been caused by parts of the bodywork on David Coulthard’s McLaren flying off. Coulthard, who had started from 12th place and made his way to ninth, then reemerged from the pits in 19th place after a long pit-stop to repair the damage.
However, as the safety car was summoned for the second time, Da Matta, who had pitted earlier took the lead as the majority of the other runners went into the pits. (AFP)