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Barrichello Posts 1st F-1 Win

Rubens Barrichello scored his first Formula One victory Sunday in a wild German Grand Prix featuring a first-turn crash, a protester walking on the track and the memory of a late champion.

Michael Schumacher was knocked out just after the start for the second straight race and had his lead in the season standings cut to two points.

Barrichello, in a Ferrari, battled from 18th place on the starting grid for the first victory by a Brazilian driver in almost seven years and his first in 123 starts.

Sticking with dry-track slicks after rain started 10 laps from the end, Barrichello finished 7.5 seconds ahead of two-time defending champion Mika Hakkinen, who pitted for rain tires. Hakkinen's McLaren-Mercedes teammate, David Coulthard, was third.

Barrichello covered the 45 laps on the 4.240-mile circuit in 1 hour, 25 minutes, 34.418 seconds, for an average speed of 133.834 mph.

Hugging a Brazilian flag, Barrichello broke into tears on the podium.

"I can't believe it, I can't believe it," Barrichello said. "The last lap was the longest lap in my life."

Barrichello dedicated his victory to Ayrton Senna, the late Brazilian champion who was killed in May 1994 at the San Marino GP. The last GP win for a Brazilian was Senna's victory in Australia in November 1993.

"Since 1984, he changed my life, then I definitely became a racing driver," Barrichello said. " I followed him very much and he heard me."

With 20 laps left, a man suddenly appeared along the track. Wearing a white plastic rain jacket, the man crossed the track and waved to passing cars before security officials managed to grab him.

"I was really worried that he was going to kill himself, that he was going to jump under the car," Barrichello said.

Police later said the man was a 47-year-old Frenchman protesting his dismissal by Mercedes-Benz after working for the German car company for 20 years.

The man, who was not identified, cut through a fence to reach the rack. He was in police custody and circuit officials filed trespassing charges against him.

By beating the two McLaren drivers, Barrichello protected Schumacher's lead in the Formula One championship.

With six races left, Schumacher leads with 56 points, while Coulthard and Hakkinen now share second place with 54. A victory is worth 10 points, second place six. Barichello, 28, has 46 and is also now in the title race.

Schumacher and Giancarlo Fisichella collided in the first corner, knocking both drivers out of the race.

It was a bitter outcome for Schumacher before tens of thousands of home fans and the fourth time in the last five races he has failed to finish.

Schumacher started from the second position on the starting grid, on the front row behind Coulthard. Coulthard, imitating Schumacher's driving style at the start, swerved hard from outside to the inside to prevent Schumacher from moving ahead.

Schumacher then swerved to the outside in his Ferrari, coming out ahead of Fisichella's Benetton, but the two cars touched sides and spun out. Fisichella crashed into a tire wall and Schumacher stopped in the gravel.

"He's behind and he should be watching out," said Schumacher, who also collided with Fisichella in the first corner of the Austrian Grand Prix two weeks ago. "He apologized but that doesn't help me. The second time around, it really gets on my nerves."

Fisichella refused to take all the blame. "I think we should decide in the rules whether a driver should stick to his line," he said. "I was on my line and then suddenly Michael's car was right in front of my front wheel so I went into the back of his car."

Hakkinen, who started from the fourth position behind Fisichella, used the maneuvering at the start to take the early lead.

With the rain starting to fall, Hakkinen went in for new tires on lap 35. Barrichello chose not to come in and held on with dry tires to capture the victory, with Schumacher watching from the Ferrari box.

"It was tricky, it was raining on different sections of the track," Barrichello said.

Jenson Button in a BMW-Williams was fourth, Mika Salo in a Sauber was fifth and Pedro de La Rosa was sixth in an Arrows.

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