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Rubens Wins British Grand Prix Thriller

Rubens Barrichello won his sixth Grand Prix today in the country where he learned to race. Michael Schumacher, his team mate finished fourth after a hectic race to make Ferrari's tally of World Championship points 15 and keep them in the lead of the Constructors' World Championship. Michael also retains his lead of the Drivers' World Championship, seven points ahead of Raikkonen.

Speaking after the race, Jean Todt, Managing Director of Ferrari's racing department said: 'This was a great result which shows how well Ferrari reacted, along with its technical partners, especially Bridgestone and Shell and how much work was done in after a few difficult races.'

'What a fantastic race, great entertainment from start to finish,' said Mike Copson of Shell Global Solutions. 'The team has made step forward with the car in testing last week shown by today's results and speed. Shell was as ever a vital part of that testing and we can be justifiably proud of today's results.'

The 2003 British Grand Prix will be remembered as one of the most hectic and chaotic races of the season so far. Not since Brazil has the running order of the race been so varied. After two early safety car periods, a hectic dash for the pit lane by most of the top runners saw cars drop from podium positions to well out of the top ten and climb their way back up to the top.

At the start, Rubens Barrichello lost two places to Trulli and Raikkonen and was sitting third ahead of Ralf Schumacher when the safety car was deployed. David Coulthard's McLaren had shed its protective foam around his head and the field had to drive in file behind the safety car to allow the debris to be collected.

When the race got underway again, Rubens had just overtaken the Finn then the safety car was used again when a man crossed the security fencing and began running along the Hangar Straight with the cars coming towards him at over 200kph. Ferrari decided that at this stage in the race, it would be beneficial to bring the cars in for new fuel and tyres. Many of the teams had the same idea and the top ten runners all pitted together.

After some frantic activity in the pit lane and the race order panned out, it became clear that Toyota had been the biggest winners, inheriting the race lead with Da Matta with Panis close in second. McLaren had also benefited, with their cars in second and third. Ferrari meanwhile was suffering. Barrichello was in 8th spot with Michael Schumacher in 15th.

Behind Da Matta, the chaos was continuing with some thrilling racing all the way down the field. The crowd was being treated to some exciting driving, especially those at Abbey Corner. Rubens had already passed Raikkonen for second at Abbey and he also passed Ralf Schumacher there. Meanwhile, Michael had passed Villeneuve at that turn as well as a reversal of Ferrari fortunes began.

By Lap 40, the leaders began to pit once more and some excellent pit work from the Ferrari team saw Rubens and Michael serviced and sent out again very quickly.

Rubens came out at the top of the order once again and quickly caught Raikkonen who had also pitted. The Ferrari was flying and chased Raikkonen through the second sector of the lap. Sitting behind the McLaren at Stowe and Club corners and the Ferrari was close at Abbey and Raikkonen ran wide at Bridge, letting the Ferrari through for the lead of the race.

Rubens would hold the lead until the end of the 60th lap and claim his first British Grand Prix win and his first win of the season.

Formula One at Silverstone today proved that overtaking is possible and more importantly, vital to winning races. Rubens is the seventh man to win a Grand Prix this year and with Hockenheim next on the calendar, Formula One goes to Germany with five real contenders for the top step of the podium.