USGP Report

The penultimate round of the 2002 Formula 1 World Championship got underway in perfect weather, the sun already shining over the most famous race track in the world at 7.30 in the morning. After securing its fifth all-red front row of the grid the Scuderia Ferrari outfit went on to take their eighth one-two finish of the year, the 60th of their F1 history!

Around 150,000 fans turned up to watch the action, making it the biggest F1 crowd of the year and they witnessed one of the closest finishes ever in Formula One when the Ferrari duo slowed down for a formation finish and Barrichello, who had been running second all race, was timed at .011 ahead of his teammate, giving him the win.

The closest finish recorded was at Monza in 1971 and the 0.010s gap remains the closest ever, although it was recorded with stopwatches which were not capable of measuring such small gaps. Today's result improved Ferrari's record this season to 14 wins from 16 races, including the last nine in a row. It was also the Scuderia's eighth victory in the United States Grand Prix, the 158th in its history and Rubens Barrichello's fifth career win.

“The finish wasn't planned before the race. We were both having fun trying to be as fast as one another and I have to thank Michael for this and also the team for all their support through the year. The US is an important part of my life which makes today special for me, Rubens said.“At the last corner, I didn't know what to do and Michael was very kind to let us finish equally. Both Michael and I know that Ferrari's interests come first and it is with that in mind, we accept the various situations which arise during the season. We have had a lot of fun, winning everything this year in the best car and I am a happy man right now. There was a lot of work to do before the race deciding on strategy and also which car to use. I preferred the T car, but as we had a small uncertainty about the brakes on it in the warm-up we decided to use the race car, which ran perfectly. My only problem this afternoon was with some backmarkers who tried to let me pass by slowing a lot on the straight, which could have caused a crash. Now I am looking forward to the next race, where I have a lot of Japanese tifosi and where the most important thing will be to have a good race for Bridgestone.”

Finishing second after dominating the entire weekend, Michael agreed with his teammate that the result was not planned. The duo attempted to cross the line together, however that was the one thing they failed to get right all weekend. Despite not taking his second victory here, Michael is happy for his teammate and believes this result justifies the teams actions in Austria.

“The end of the race was not planned. We tried to cross the line together but failed by a tiny bit and in fact we did not know who had won until we got out of the cars. I just felt Rubens deserved to win this race,” Michael said. “He has made sacrifices for me at least twice this year and I guess that what goes around comes around. It is fair to say that both of us understood and accepted the decision in Austria, because we know that the interests of the team come first. I feel that today equalises what happened there, even though we were trying to finish side by side. We have set so many records this year and now we have one for the closest finish! As for the race, the car was perfect but we tried not to push too hard in the beginning. When I came out ahead of Coulthard after the pit stop and I knew it was okay, but it was quite close. I had some traffic problems with guys trying to be nice, but choosing the wrong place to let me pass.”

“To take our fourteenth win and eighth one-two finish of the season is a fantastic result. Now that Rubens has taken second place in the Drivers' classification, we have reached all the goals we had set ourselves at the start of the year. Furthermore, we have become the first team to break the 200 points barrier from sixteen races,” added Jean Todt. “Once again today, we proved our motivation has not wavered. The team worked exceptionally well and in some ways, crossing the line side by side is a symbol for an incredible season. The happiness of our drivers and Paolo Martinelli on the podium demonstrates the harmony that exists in this team, which works with passion and determination. This one-two finish is down to the fact that the entire package-chassis, engine and Bridgestone tyres- all worked perfectly. Adding to our satisfaction is the fact that the United States is the most important market for Ferrari and Maserati.”