Schumi lifts French GP

Associated Press

Magny Cours, July 4:

Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher held off a strong challenge from the Renault team to win the French Grand Prix on Sunday for his ninth victory in 10 Formula One races this season.

However, the Renault team led by Spaniard Fernando Alonso could take some satisfaction in ending Ferrari’s string of three straight 1-2 finishes. Alonso finished second, 8.3 seconds behind Schumacher. Schumacher’s Brazilian teammate Rubens Barrichello, despite starting from the 10th position, passed Renault’s Jarno Trulli of Italy on the final lap to place third.

For Schumacher, the victory was the German’s seventh in the French GP, and 79th in his career on the Formula One circuit. Alonso and Trulli are the only non-Ferrari drivers to win F1 races since last August. Alonso won the Hungarian GP in August 2003, and Tulli won the Monaco GP in May. Fifth place went to BAR-Honda’s Jenson Button of Britain. Scotsman David Coulthard and Finn Kimi Raikkonen, in the new model of the McLaren-Mercedes, were sixth and seventh, respectively. Schumacher now has 90 points for the season, followed by Barrichello with 67 points. Button is the best non-Ferrari driver with 48 points, just ahead of Trulli.