Honda F1 website

APRIL 7, 2003

Ralf's lucky day

Ralf Schumacher finished a lackluster ninth in Brazil although he argued that he would have been on the podium if the race had not been ended prematurely, and that despite a spin early in the race at Turn 3, where his team mate Juan Pablo Montoya and brother Michael Schumacher ended their races in the wall.

Ralf was doubly lucky because at the end of the first Safety Car intervention he overtook Jos Verstappen before the two cars crossed the start-finish line. Although this shows up clearly in the TAG-Heuer documentation issued after the race, the lap times and gaps showing that Ralf was two tenths of a second (half a car length) ahead when the two cars crossed the line. Minardi must have missed it and so too did the FIA observers so Ralf was able to get away without a penalty. That was crucial because in the laps that followed Ralf made up a lot of ground and was up to third within six laps. If he had a penalty (as he should have done) he would have been stone last at that point.