Schumacher beats brother to close in on seventh title

For a while it actually seemed as if Ralf Schumacher was headed for victory in Canada, but a super-slick two-stop strategy by Ferrari delivered Michael Schumacher his 77th victory, his seventh of the season and his seventh in Montreal. It could scarcely have been a better day for the world champion, as a record seventh title drew ever closer.

Ralf made a perfect start from pole position to grab the lead, and proceeded to build it over Button, Alonso, Montoya, Schumacher, Raikkonen and Barrichello. But Jarno Trulli's race ended even before the first corner when his Renault suffered a suspected suspension failure accelerating off the startline. Further back, rookie Christian Klein's move on David Coulthard going into the first corner ended with the Austrian spinning the Scot, and then landing his Jaguar on team-mate Mark Weber's car.

Barrichello passed Raikkonen on the sixth lap, but otherwise it was the usual Canadian follow-my-leader game until the McLarens were the first to refuel - the unfortunate Coulthard on lap 11, Raikkonen lap 12. Button and Montoya came in on lap 13, Ralf on lap 15, so by lap 16 Michael had only Alonso ahead of him as Ferrari's master plan stayed smoothly on track. Alonso's stop on lap 17 promoted the world champion to the lead. Now it was just a matter of how long the red cars would stay out before they needed more fuel, and how big a gap they could build in the meantime.

The answer was not as long as anticipated, as Barrichello refuelled on lap 18, Schumacher on 19. Against expectations, this handed the lead back to Ralf, with Button pushing up to second ahead of the Ferraris, which naturally were running in team formation, separated by Montoya.

As Button pushed hard to challenge Ralf Schumacher, brother Michael found his hands full fending off Montoya until the Colombian's second stop on lap 30, by which time the champion was 11sec adrift of his brother and had Barrichello breathing down his neck.

When Ralf fell only 3.7sec behind his brother after his second stop on lap 33 things looked rosy, especially as Barrichello was clearly faster than his team leader at this point. The two Ferraris circulated nose-to-tail at the head of the field, with Ralf apparently just awaiting their stops. Barrichello's came on lap 44, but as Michael just kept running Ferrari's strategy became clearer and hopes in the BMW Williams camp began a slow fade. Michael stopped finally on lap 47, but a lap later Ralf was in no position to exploit that as he came in from a brief lead for his final call a lap later.

By the time everything settled down again after Button and Montoya pitted on lap 49, Michael was leading comfortably from Ralf, Barrichello, Button and Montoya. Alonso's race had ended with a mechanical failure at the start of the 45th lap, the first time this year that Renault had failed to finish a car.

Over the remaining laps Schumacher consolidated his lead as everyone else seemed to lose heart, merely settling for points-scoring finishes. By the finish the Ferrari was almost 10sec ahead of the BMW Williams, until Michael eased off in the final lap. Button and Montoya provided what few thrills remained as the Colombian hounded the Briton. Button just clung on to finish fourth. Behind them, Kimi Raikkonen lost sixth place to Giancarlo Fisichella after having to stop on the 61st lap for a replacement steering wheel following an electronic problem.

In an incident in the pits on lap 21, a Jordan mechanic was injured when Nick Heidfeld was signalled to rejoin before his refuelling process had been completed, while Felipe Massa escaped unharmed after crashing his Sauber very heavily after losing a wheel on lap 65.

"This was a very satisfying win, and one that I owe to the team and its fantastic work," Schumacher said. "We planned this race very carefully, and I am delighted that all our work paid off so handsomely. I couldn't have asked for more" The win gives the unstoppable Schumacher 70 points to Barrichello's 66 and Button's 43, while Ferrari have 122 points, Renault 61 and BAR Honda 51. Don't bet on a repeat at Indianapolis, in seven days' time.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Arts and Entertainment
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>
filmRobert Downey Jr named Hollywood's highest paid actor for second year running
Life and Style
Dale Bolinger arranged to meet the girl via a fetish website
Sign here, please: Magna Carta Island
propertyYours for a cool £4m
Life and Style
The Commonwealth flag flies outside Westminster Abbey in central London
Arts and Entertainment
Struggling actors who scrape a living working in repertory theatres should get paid a 'living wage', Sir Ian McKellen has claimed
Skye McCole Bartusiak's mother said she didn't use drink or drugs
peopleActress was known for role in Mel Gibson film The Patriot
Arts and Entertainment
tvWebsite will allow you to watch all 522 shows on-demand
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor