Ferrari scored their ninth one-two finish of the year when they dominated the
final round of the championship, the Japanese Grand Prix at the Suzuka circuit
on Sunday. Michael Schumacher won by just half a second from Rubens Barrichello,
but this was only because he had slowed at the end of the race, losing nine
seconds on the last lap.
Michael's win clinched a hat-trick of wins at the Japanese track, rounding off his record-breaking Formula One season in style. It was also Michael and Rubens 15th one-two finish, breaking the record for Formula One's most successful partnership, which they previously shared with McLaren's legendary 1988-89 pairing of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost.
Schumacher has finished among the top three at every Grand Prix this year and is the first driver to complete a season on the podium. He has now won 64 Grand Prix, 45 of them for Ferrari. His nearest challenger in Formula One's hall of fame is France's Prost, who recorded 51 career victories.
The 33-year-old German's win also took his personal points tally for the year to a record 144 and gave Ferrari their 53rd successive podium finish. Luca di Montezemolo, President of the Ferrari Maserati Group, had said he was delighted with the outcome in Suzuka. “This year is the result of perfect teamwork which reflect not only on the Gestione Sportiva but on all of Ferrari and, of corse, our sponsors and technical partners who have supported us on the long road which has led to a fourth consecutive Constructors' Championship and a third consecutive Drivers' title. A special word of thanks to the drivers and especially MS for an incredible performance,” he said. “This has been an incredible year because we have been up against the biggest car companies in the world and we have beaten them in terms of technology, organization and reliability and this is caused for great satisfaction. We are proud to have been able to continue working with determination, investing and improving even after we won the Constructors' title in 1999. Now we have reached what has truly been a record year which will probably be impossible to repeat”.
Ferrari ended the season with a massive 221 points, another new record.