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San Marino Grand Prix Win Signals a Return for Ferrarii?

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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   

 

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