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Schumacher Wins In China To Tie With Alonso

Schumacher Wins In China To Tie With Alonso

Michael Schumacher Wins In ChinaIn what should have been a Renault-dominated Chinese Grand Prix, Michael Schumacher has stormed to his 91st win, and is now on 116 points in the Drivers Title, matching his rival Fernando Alonso. After a wet qualifying yesterday, Renault showed their dominance with Michelin tyres and cruised to a 1-2 on the grid, leaving Ferrari pilot Schumacher floundering in 6th with his Bridgestone-shod car.

With the circuit remaining wet for the race, it looked as though Alonso would skate away to victory and leave Schumacher in a plume of water. And after the start, everything was going Renault’s way as Alonso pulled out a 25 second gap by the time his first pit stop came around. Unfortunately, the track had started to dry out during this first stint, and Schumacher’s Bridgestones were starting to work better. Although Alonso had pulled out a large gap, Schumacher was recaiming it by the time they stopped for the first time.

By the time the second round of pit stops looms, Alonso has lost his lead to Giancarlo Fisichello, who could wait no more behind his team mate. Renault handed responsibility to Fisichella to defend Alonso’s crown as the Spaniard struggled on new front inrtermediates and worn rears. Michael Schumacher has sensed victory and is driving the wheels of his Ferrari. Alonso’s race goes from bad to worse when he encounters a problem in the pit lane. While changing from intermediates to slicks, the left-rear nut gets stuck and Fernando has to endure an 18 second stop.

Fisichella and Alonso Lap Line Astern In ChinaOn lap 41, Schumacher squeezes past Fisichella to take the lead after the Roman driver slowly got back up tp speed on his slick tyres. Five laps later, David Coulthard clouts the second Ferrari of Felipe Massa and Schumacher’s rear-gunner retires from the race.

And on the final lap, despite a great charge from Alonso, Schumacher takes his 91st career victory, and moves on to tie with Alonso in the Drivers Title. Although official, Michael Schumacher is ahead of Alonso because the German has won 7 races to the Spaniard’s 6.

Button takes 4th place as he sneaks pass his team mate Rubens Barrichello and BMW driver Nick Heidfeld on the final lap. And Pedro De La Rosa capitalises on the traffic and passes the two drivers as well as they get caught out and spin on the ever-increasingly wet track.

With two races to go, the championship is almost as close as it can be, and the rivalry is as intense as could possibly be with Schumacher riding the successful wave, determined to bow out in style, and Alonso desparately working hard to take the number one insignia to McLaren next year.

Formula One, F1, Chinese Grand Prix, Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso, Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault, Ferrari, McLaren

Oliver White

4 comments

  • It indeed was a well driven race by Michael [helped by some luck], especially after the first pit-stops. Renault, had everything gong perfectly for them until the disaster-strategy of changing front tyres on Alonso’s car.

    Even if I discount the left-rear nut problem, I still believe Michael would have won the race since in the later stages he was simply taking easy on his car & tyres.

    But all in all, a very very exciting race.

  • Alonso needs a good result in Suzuka or he could be facing a chasm at the Interlagos finale. And to think that he led the Championship by 25 points at one stage. This brings to mind other occasions when huge Championship leads were blown – Alain Prost led by 14 points with four races to go in 1983 and threw it away; Carlos Reutemann led by 17 points halfway through 1981 and slumped (in both years Nelson Piquet stole the title at the final race), and in 1976, Niki Lauda lost out to James Hunt after at one stage being no less than 47 points ahead of him. Could Alonso be about to join this unlucky group?

    Also, Mark Webber’s eighth place in Shanghai gave Williams their first Grand Prix point for 11 races, which must be a record in their 29-year history. No wonder they’re having such a difficult season.

  • Alonso has to finish in the points in Suzuka. If Schumacher wins it and Alonso fails to finish in the top eight, it is all over. Should Alonso reclaim his points at Interlagos, Schumacher would still take the title on his number of wins. If ever there was a time for Fernando to not worry about politics (he recently slagged off his team) now is the time.

    My money is still on Alonso to win the title though, as mad as that may seem!

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