| Michael Schumacher celebrates his victory in the French Grand Prix at the Magny-Cours circuit on Sunday. Fernando Alonso and Rubens Barrichello were second and third. (Reuters)
Magny-Cours: Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher won the French Grand Prix for the seventh time on Sunday to chalk up his ninth victory in 10 races. It was the 79th success of the world champion’s record-breaking career, and his fourth in a row, but the afternoon was a far cry from the action-packed US Grand Prix of two weeks ago.
Spaniard Fernando Alonso, who started on pole position for Renault in the French carmaker’s home race, was second after leading for nearly half the distance.
Brazilian Rubens Barrichello added salt to Renault’s wounds by seizing third place from Italian Jarno Trulli two corners from the finish.
Schumacher, irresistible and implacable as ever, leads the championship with 90 points to teammate Barrichello’s 68.
Ferrari, their sixth successive constructors’ crown looking more inevitable by the day, have 158 points to Renault’s 79.
The 70,000 strong crowd at least enjoyed the sunshine, basking under an almost cloudless sky after heavy showers earlier in the week.
But the race was a drawn-out strategic battle, short on thrills and mainly devoid of overtaking apart from Trulli powering past Coulthard and then squeezing out Button at the start. The Italian was then on the receiving end right at the death when he gave up third to Barrichello.
Briton Jenson Button was fifth for BAR and compatriot David Coulthard sixth in a McLaren ahead of Finnish teammate Kimi Raikkonen.
Takuma Sato, third for BAR at the last race in Indianapolis to equal the best result by a Japanese driver, was the first retirement with yet another of the engine problems that have dogged his season.
Drivers — 1. Michael Schumacher 90 points; 2. Rubens Barrichello 68; 3. Jenson Button 48; 4. Jarno Trulli 46; 5. Fernando Alonso 33; 6. Juan Pablo Montoya 25; 7. Takuma Sato 14; 8. Ralf Schumacher12; 8. David Coulthard 12; 10. Giancarlo Fisichella 10; 10. Kimi Raikkonen 10.
Constructors — 1. Ferrari 158 points; 2. Renault 79; 3. BAR 62; 4. Williams 37; 5. McLaren 22; 6. Sauber 15; 7. Toyota 8; 8. Jordan 5; 9. Jaguar 3; 10. Minardi 1.