April 23, 2006
Smile returns to Tifosi
Stunner of Qualifier by Schumacher and smart thinking by Ferrari strategists saw emotional Michael to conduct Inno Di Mameli to the joy of Tifosi Fans.
While rivals had hoped that 1:22.795 second laps which saw Michael grab pole was maybe result from running light in qualifier, Michael drove for 20 laps before his first pit stop (Jenson button who was P2 in qualifiers with 1:22.988 pitted on 12th lap) showed that Schumi had done good job in qualifier. First pitstop however proved to be Ferrari’s undoing , with the new tyres graining for Ferrari, hopes for Renault revived with Alonso cutting into Michael’s lead at rate of near a second per lap. Then came the key moment when Renault strategists decided to pit Fernando for his final stop earlier than planned on lap 41 and get him ahead of Ferrari in pit this would have proved to be masterstroke ,but that was not to be, Ferrari thought on their feet got Michael in for a quick pitstop while Alonso was still making his outlap. Result was with 20 laps to go Alonso found himself behind Michael. In repeat of 2005,,however with roles reversed and two smalls mistakes by Alonso when he ran wide meant Michael saw the checkered flag 2.096 seconds ahead of Alonso.
Gainers: Montoya who couldn’t use his car in Final free practice and had to switch to T car did a good job to qualify at P7 drove sensibly and won his first podium of season ahead of team-mate Räikkönen who ended fifth starting 8th on grid.
Webber was another gainer who made most on the race start to get past Kimi and drove strong race to get 3 points for Williamsf1 team
Massa did a good job in first stint of race when he held the field for Michael ,but one yellow flag and surprising lackluster performance of Ferrari in first stint meant team-mate couldn’t make most of help from Massa.
Losers: Honda Duo Button and Barichello couldn’t capitalize of qualifying at sharp end of grid , while Alonso and Massa jumped Barichello on 1st lap. Button and pit crew messed with his second stop when Button raced out with his fuel rig still in car. Reminds me of number of similar screw ups the pit crew did with Sato in 2005 season.
Toyota Duo of Ralf Schumacher & Trulli : While Trulli retired on 5th lap with steering column failure,Ralf couldn’t make much of his P5 qualifier and ended race on 9th position. Best thing that the duo did was not holding a train of cars behind them for which they had become specialists of sorts in last season.
Eighteen month drought is finally over for the Maranello team, question now in minds of fans and rivals will be,is this a mirage or have Ferrari finally found the oasis after going around for more than a season
Times01 M. Schumacher Ferrari 1:31:06.486
02 F. Alonso Renault + 2.096
03 JP. Montoya McLaren + 15.868
04 F. Massa Ferrari + 17.096
05 K. Räikkönen McLaren + 17.524
06 M. Webber Williams + 37.739
07 J. Button Honda + 39.635
08 G. Fisichella Renault + 40.200
09 R. Schumacher Toyota + 45.511
10 R. Barrichello Honda + 1:17.851
11 N. Rosberg Williams + 1:19.675
12 J. Villeneuve BMW + 1:22.370
13 N. Heidfeld BMW + 1 laps
14 V. Liuzzi Scuderia Toro Rosso + 1 laps
15 S. Speed Scuderia Toro Rosso + 1 laps
16 T. Monteiro Midland F1 + 2 laps
Did not finish
17 D. Coulthard Red Bull + 15 laps
18 T. Sato Super Aguri + 18 laps
19 C. Klien Red Bull + 22 laps
20 Y. Ide Super Aguri + 39 laps
21 J. Trulli Toyota + 57 laps
22 C. Albers Midland F1 + 62 laps