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Ralf gets away with fine

Budapest: Williams driver Ralf Schumacher can compete at Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix on equal terms with his championship rivals after motor sport’s ruling body watered down his punishment for a first lap crash at Hockenheim.

Schumacher had been ordered by stewards to start 10 places down the grid from his qualification position at the Hungaroring after being blamed for the crash at the last race in Germany.

But an FIA appeal court ruled on Wednesday that instead he should be fined $50,000.

The ruling, after a hearing on Tuesday, boosted Williams’ hopes of overtaking Ferrari in the constructors’ championship on Sunday. The team is two points behind the leaders with four races remaining.

“I was delighted with the decision,” said Ralf. “After yesterday’s hearing, I didn’t expect too much, but I am very happy with the conclusion that was reached.”

Team boss Frank Williams said: “We are delighted that the FIA court of appeal saw fit to remove the serious penalty of a 10-place demotion on the starting grid for the next race.

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