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Sunday, October 12
Schumacher barely wins record sixth title

SUZUKA, Japan -- Michael Schumacher won a record sixth Formula One title Sunday, finishing eighth at the Japanese Grand Prix and holding off Kimi Raikkonen for the championship.

Schumacher got strong support from Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello, who won the season-ending race ahead of Raikkonen. For Raikkonen to capture the title, the McLaren driver would have had to win the race while Schumacher went without a point.

But Schumacher scored a point for eighth place, leaving the German with 93 points for the season and Raikkonen with 91.

"It is very strange for me because most of my championships have been won with a victory," Schumacher said. "Here I am today winning the championship in eighth position. It is with mixed emotion, though. What the team has achieved is fantastic."

This was Schumacher's fourth consecutive title for Ferrari, to go with the championships he won with Benetton in 1994 and 1995. This was Ferrari's fifth constructor's championship.

"I'm so proud," Barrichello said. "Because even though all these years Michael has been the one, I've been helping for the constructors' title and have been there as well."

Raikkonen finished second in three of the last four races.

"It's not nice to finish second again but at least we didn't lose to a bad driver," the Finn said.

Raikkonen was 11 seconds behind Barrichello at the end of 53 laps. McLaren's David Coulthard was third, BAR's Jenson Button came in fourth, followed by Renault's Jarno Trulli. Schumacher finished 59.4 seconds behind.

It wasn't an easy title for Schumacher. He trailed Raikkonen 24-8 after three events on the 16-race calendar and had several difficult outings.

"How many times people wrote us off," Schumacher said. "And here we are. We're back. We never give up. We always fight. That is one of the big strengths of the Ferrari team."

"It is just one big family," he added. "We are all proud of being a part of it."


 
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