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Schumacher runaway is on again in F1

By Associated Press
Published April 5, 2004

SAKHIR, Bahrain - Michael Schumacher is turning the Formula One season into a rout.

Schumacher won his third straight race Sunday, taking the inaugural Bahrain Grand Prix for his 73rd career victory.

The six-time series champion led from the pole and never faltered, taking command on the new $150-million desert track. Light rain fell just before the start but track conditions were nearly perfect despite fears of blowing sand and dust.

Schumacher averaged 129.876 mph over 57 laps on the 3.367-mile course. Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello was second, 1.3 seconds behind, only because Schumacher slowed after leading by 10 seconds entering the final lap.

In two of the three races this year, Schumacher was never seriously challenged.

"I don't have any problem with it, honestly," he said. "I'm certain the others will raise their game."

Jenson Button of BAR-Honda was third, followed by Jarno Trulli of Renault, Takuma Sato of BAR-Honda, Fernando Alonso of Renault, Ralf Schumacher of Williams and Mark Webber of Jaguar.

It was Button's second straight third-place finish.

Juan Pablo Montoya of Williams, who was in third with about 10 laps to go, finished 13th with engine problems.

Schumacher dominated just as he did in the opener in Australia. Formula One officials have openly talked about fears of another Schumacher runaway, which happened two seasons ago when he won 11 of 17 races and TV ratings plummeted.

Schumacher leads the standings with 30 points followed by Barrichello (21) and Button (15).

NHRA: Tony Schumacher earned his third Top Fuel victory in four events, beating Larry Dixon in Las Vegas in the final at the Nationals.

Schumacher had a quarter-mile run of 4.525 seconds at 331.53 mph for his 14th career victory. Dixon finished in 4.571 at 323.97.

Phil Burkart earned his second career victory in Funny Car, beating Whit Bazemore in the final at 5.029, 264.03. Greg Anderson (6.849, 201.31) took his third win of the season and 19th career in Pro Stock, beating Kurt Johnson.

[Last modified April 5, 2004, 01:20:27]

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