I bet Pat Symonds is kicking himself right now. Fernando Alonso was being held up by Michael Schumacher, who was struggling in his Ferrari, so Renault tries to get some faster laps for Alonso by calling him in early. The problem was that Ross Brawn simply called Schumacher in on the next lap and he exits just ahead of Alonso making the whole exercise fruitless. Speculation is that Alonso had another 5 laps of fuel in the car and may have been able to jump ahead of the Ferrari if he stayed out. Oh well, hindsight is always 20/20 in these cases.
The truth is that Michael Schumacher's Ferrari won the race not because it was the fastest car out there but because it is impossible to pass at Imola. He was a good 2-4 seconds a lap slower after his first pit stop and never really recovered from the loss of grid his used tires suffered. If he made any mistake at all, Alonso would have passed him for the win. As we all know, Schumacher rarely makes mistakes and that was the case today. So, the result shows that Ferrari still has some work to do to catch Renault, but, given the right track and position on it, they can win races. Having Ferrari in a position to challenge for a win is a good thing for the sport whether or not you are a fan of the Scuderia.
The race was largely a procession with the only bits of excitement being the constant attempt by Alonso to gain the lead from Schumacher, the first corner punt of Christian Albers' Torro Rosso by the Super Aguri of Ide, and the Jenson Button lollipop incident during his second pit stop. I can tell you that the Honda team will be holding lollipop exercises over the next couple of weeks to make sure it is not raised until after the fuel rig is removed from the car. Thankfully no-one was seriously injured by Jenson taking off with the fuel rig attached and collecting a half-dozed pit crew members in the process.
I have to admit that I was surprised that Jacques Villeneuve did not finish any better than 12th. He was up to sixth in the race with only a single pit stop to go and looked like he would finish in the points. Unfortunately for him, he suffered from pit lane slowness and dropped back significantly. Just goes to show, is it did for Button, that no matter what you do on the race track, it can all become unravelled when you stop for tires and fuel.
McLaren was never really in the race but both Montoya and Raikkonen finished in the points with Juan Pablo salvaging a podium largely thanks to Honda's misfortune. Kimi never really had much of a chance to do anything but did finish fifth, just behind the other Ferrari of Felippe Massa. I'm sure Ron Dennis is happy for the points helping with the quest for the Constructor's Championship.
Red Bull had an early exit for both Christian Klien and David Coulthard, while Williams had mixed results with Webber finishing sixth and Rosberg tenth. The rest of the field was pretty much as expected with the Super Aguri and Midland drivers at the back of the pack. Full results are as follows:
P. No Driver Team - Engine Tyres Gaps/Laps Average 1. 5 M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari B 1h31'06"486 201.261 Km/h 2. 1 ALONSO Renault M + 0'02"096 201.184 Km/h 3. 4 MONTOYA McLaren Mercedes M + 0'15"868 200.679 Km/h 4. 6 MASSA Ferrari B + 0'17"096 200.634 Km/h 5. 3 RAIKKONEN McLaren Mercedes M + 0'17"524 200.618 Km/h 6. 9 WEBBER Williams Cosworth B + 0'37"739 199.881 Km/h 7. 12 BUTTON Honda M + 0'39"635 199.813 Km/h 8. 2 FISICHELLA Renault M + 0'40"200 199.792 Km/h 9. 7 R.SCHUMACHER Toyota B + 0'45"511 199.600 Km/h 10. 11 BARRICHELLO Honda M + 1'17"851 198.435 Km/h 11. 10 ROSBERG Williams Cosworth B + 1'19"675 198.370 Km/h 12. 17 VILLENEUVE BMW Sauber M + 1'22"370 198.274 Km/h 13. 16 HEIDFELD BMW Sauber M 1 lap(s) 14. 20 LIUZZI Toro Rosso Cosw. M 1 lap(s) 15. 21 SPEED Toro Rosso Cosw. M 1 lap(s) 16. 18 MONTEIRO Midland Toyota B 2 lap(s) 17. 14 COULTHARD RedBull Ferrari M 15 lap(s) 18. 22 SATO S. Aguri F1 Honda B 18 lap(s) 19. 15 KLIEN RedBull Ferrari M 22 lap(s) 20. 23 IDE S. Aguri F1 Honda B 39 lap(s) 21. 8 TRULLI Toyota B 57 lap(s) 22. 19 ALBERS Midland Toyota B 62 lap(s)
The current points standings for the drivers championship are:
Points Driver Team - Engine 36 ALONSO Renault 21 M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari 18 RAIKKONEN McLaren Mercedes 15 FISICHELLA Renault 15 MONTOYA McLaren Mercedes 13 BUTTON Honda 9 MASSA Ferrari 7 R.SCHUMACHER Toyota 6 WEBBER Williams Cosworth 5 HEIDFELD BMW Sauber 5 VILLENEUVE BMW Sauber 2 BARRICHELLO Honda 2 ROSBERG Williams Cosworth 1 COULTHARD RedBull Ferrari 1 KLIEN RedBull Ferrari
The current points standing for the constructors championship are:
Points Team - Engine 51 Renault 33 McLaren Mercedes 30 Ferrari 15 Honda 10 BMW Sauber 8 Williams Cosworth 7 Toyota 2 RedBull Ferrari