Ralf Schumacher in a Williams won the Canadian Grand Prix
Ralf Schumacher leads brother Michael to win Canadian Grand Prix Ralf Schumacher

MONTREAL, June 10 (AFP) - Ralf Schumacher in a Williams won the Canadian Grand Prix, the eighth race of the Formuala One World Championship here on the Gilles Villeneuve circuit Sunday.

His older brother Michael Schumacher in a Ferrari came second to maintain his lead in the driver's championship, with Finland's Mika Hakkinen in a McLaren doubling his points total by taking third.

Hakkinen, who has had a disappointing season so far, now has eight points.

Michael Schumacher, who led throughout most of the race after starting in pole ahead of brother Ralf - the second time the brothers have done so this season - retains his lead in the drivers championship with 58 points.

Race winner Ralf takes his points total to 22, while Britain's David Coulthard remains in second place in the drivers championship, on 40 points, after he failed to finish the race when he pulled out on lap 56 with mechanical problems.

Only half of the 22-driver field finished the 69-lap race which, with casualties coming thick and fast, was largely dominated by the Schumachers.

First out was Italian Giancarlo Fisichella in a Benetton, who seemed to come into contact with teammate Jenson Button of Britain and was forced out on lap two.

The Jaguar team's fiery Ulsterman Eddie Irvine followed suit when he collided with Nick Heidfeld in a Sauber only moments later. Irvine slid onto the grass after seemingly being nudged by the German.

Brazilian Rubens Barrichello in a Ferrari and Colombian Juan-Pablo Montoya in a Williams then joined the unlucky trio of retirees after they made contact on lap 20.

But despite the field being narrowed, there seemed little chance of any driver upstaging the German brothers.

After 10 laps Michael was leading Ralf as Coulthard, who started in third, trailed seven seconds behind.

Hakkinen started in the fourth row in eight position and failed to get his dream start, although the Finn made up some ground after Barrichello spun off the track temporarily on lap six.

By lap 18 Coulthard had dropped to 13.401 behind Michael Schumacher, but his slower pace was understandable due to his heavier supply of fuel.

But moments later the safety car was called in to action on lap 20 when Barrichello bumped Montoya.

Barrichello appeared to brake sharply to avoid smashing into Montoya's rear. There was nowhere for the Brazilian to go after Montoya hit the kerb and lost the back end and hit the wall.

Both drivers were compelled to watch events unfold without them from either side of the track as the safety car came into effect on lap 23.

On lap 26 only 15 of the 22 starting drivers remained in contention.

But the Schumacher's had no intention of following suit. Both continued to register a succession of record lap times.

Ralf eventually finished by setting the race's fastest lap time in 1min 17.205sec.

At the halfway stage the order of standings had changed little from the initial stages of the race, with Jarno Trulli, Olivier Panis and Kimi Raikkonen still trailing the Schumachers and Coulthard, although Trulli was troubling Coulthard, with the big Scot pushed to the limit to prevent the Italian from overtaking.

Local hope Jacques Villeneuve was then forced off the track named after his late father on lap 35 when he slowed down and pulled in due to mechanical problems.

Hakkinen was in the hunt for points and by lap 37 had overtaken compatriot Raikkonen. Moments later the former double world champion sat snugly behind teammate Coulthard in fourth.

Still, the Schumachers tussled for the lead, with Ralf finally taking advantage of Michael's pit stop to take the lead when Michael pulled in for a pit stop on lap 46.

Hakkinen, by lap 50, had overtaken Coulthard, now sitting in fourth behind the German pacesetters.

But for Coulthard disaster was just around the corner.

The Scotsman effectively saw his challenge to Michael Schumacher's championship aims severely compromised on lap 56 when smoke started billowing out of his McLaren.

Dutchman Jos Verstappen, who was on course to gain only his second point of the season in his Arrows, was dealt a similar blow when he crashed with only two laps to go when he was in sixth.

In the closing stages Ralf held on to the lead he had built up over his brother to collect his second win of the season after his novice win in San Marino in April.