Michael Schumacher’s 10th win of the 2002 Formula One season, in the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa, stroking home 2sec ahead of teammate Rubens Barrichello, doesn’t on the face of it have much to distinguish it. This was despite too that it ensured a couple of remarkable landmarks: Michael’s victory set a new record for wins in a season (ten, surpassing the record jointly held by himself and Nigel Mansell), and astonishingly it was Ferrari’s 50th consecutive podium.
took pole marginally from an inspired Kimi Räikkönen in his McLaren – who might indeed have pipped him without gravel dumped on the road for his final flyer – but there was nothing marginal about Schumacher’s race advantage.
He was 2.3sec clear after one lap – Barrichello had got ahead of Räikkönen at the launch to run second. After 15 laps – around a third’s distance – Schumacher was near enough 14sec up the road on his team-mate. Once the final pitstops were done his advantage was a gaping 25.8sec. Then – minded of others’ engine failures that day – he turned everything down and finished just ahead as outlined.
Schumacher afterwards seemed almost embarrassed at the scale of his triumph, yet Brawn was more forthcoming. “Spa is a track that Michael really loves, and one where his talent and skill shine the brightest,” Brawn noted. “He was exceptional all weekend – just sublime.”