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Italian Grand Prix: Michael Schumacher Finishes Career On Top

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Michael Schumacher's 90th race victory came on the same day as he announced his retirement from the sport.

The race started in controversy, when it was announced that Fernando Alonso was to take a 5 place demotion (to 10th) for holding up Filipe Massa during qualifying. However it seems Renault, and most of the paddock believe this to be rubbish. Renault may appeal the decision at a later date.

Kimi got a good start from Pole position, and managed to hold off all attacks into and through the first chicane. Heidfeld actually managed to get ahead of Michael into the first corner. However, Michael braved the outside and clawed the place back. This allowed Heidfeld's BMW-Sauber team mate Robert Kubica to overtake him, to take third position.

After lap one the order was Raikkonen from Schumacher, Kubica, Massa, Button, Alonso, Heidfeld, De la Rosa, Fisichella and Barrichelo in tenth.

Lap 9 saw Nico Rosberg in the Williams retire. This was not, however, due to the engine failing as expected (as the engine this weekend was experimental) — rather, it was the transmission, and Nico could not engage any gears. This was probably due to damage caused by the forces applied to it when cutting the kerbs at the Monza track, as they can be very hard.

Kimi and Michael had managed to pull away from the chasing pack and were 7 seconds ahead of Kubica in third when the first of the pit stops happened. Lap 14 saw the McLaren of Pedro de la Rossa pit for fuel and tyres.

Kimi followed his team mate on the very next lap, allowing Michael to use the lighter Ferrari to put in a fast lap. Michael did this and pitted on lap 17, and came out ahead of the McLaren car of Kimi.

This allowed the F1 new boy to take the lead of the race. Robert Kubica has only driven in three F1 races so far. However the BMW-Sauber has been fast all weekend at Monza, and Kubica lead the Grand Prix for 6 laps before pitting.

Lap 19 saw Filipe Massa and Fernando Alonso both pit for fuel and tyres.

Button pitted the very next lap, as did Heidfeld a lap later. Heidfeld miraculously came out ahead of Alonso who had just passed Button in the pits.

This was however a misnomer, as the very next lap he was penalised for speeding in the pits, and ordered to do a drive through penalty. This relegated him to 11th.

Kubica pitted on lap 22 from the lead of the Grand Prix. This gave the lead to Michael, with Kimi in second and for the time being Fisichella in third.

Fisichella pitted on lap 26, for his one and only stop. This allowed Kubica to take up the third position spot behind Kimi.

Heidfeld decided it was time to recover some of the points lost during his drive through, and cam on strong. On lap 34, he passed Fisichella for seventh position.

Michael was in the race lead, with Kimi still back in second place, Kubica was still holding third with Massa and Alonso behind him.

Raikkonen was again the first of the front runners to dive in for his second stop. Kimi pitted on lap 38, with Michael pitting one lap later on lap 39, Heidfeld then followed the next lap, with Kubica, Alonso and button all coming in together on lap 41.

When the pit stop flurry had ended, Alonso was the winner, coming out in third place. Kubica and Massa where following close behind.

Lap 44 finished the weekend for Alonso, when his engine gave up spectacularly, spilling smoke and oil all over the entry to the first chicane. This caused Massa to lock up his brakes into the corner forcing him to pit for tyres the next lap and letting Kubica off.

At this point Kimi is losing sight of Michael, obviously giving up any chance of catching and passing the German.

At the checkered flag, Michael finished 7.5 seconds ahead of Kimi, with Kubica, Fisichella, Button, Barrichelo, Trulli, Heidfeld, Massa and Webber finishing the top 10.

The race will be remembered for Michaels announcement, however the real news at this race is not Michael retiring, it is Kubica's sterling effort. At the age of 21 and in only his third race he has become the first Polish driver to score F1 points.

This bodes well for many of the other young drivers coming up through the ranks, BMW-Sauber have shown that taking a risk on a young up and coming driver can work in your favour.

The other thing this race may be remembered for is the controversy over the Alonso/Renault demotion. For that, lot of people are raising Ferrari conspiracy theories.

Results

1 Michael Schumacher Ferrari 1:14:51.975
2 Kimi Räikkönen McLaren-Mercedes +8.0 secs
3 Robert Kubica Sauber-BMW +26.4 secs
4 Giancarlo Fisichella Renault +32.0 secs
5 Jenson Button Honda +32.6 secs
6 Rubens Barrichello Honda +42.4 secs
7 Jarno Trulli Toyota +44.6 secs
8 Nick Heidfeld Sauber-BMW +45.3 secs
9 Felipe Massa Ferrari +45.9 secs
10 Mark Webber Williams-Cosworth +72.6 secs
11 Christian Klien RBR-Ferrari +1 Lap
12 David Coulthard RBR-Ferrari +1 Lap
13 Scott Speed STR-Cosworth +1 Lap
14 Vitantonio Liuzzi STR-Cosworth +1 Lap
15 Ralf Schumacher Toyota +1 Lap
16 Takuma Sato Super Aguri-Honda +2 Laps
17 Christijan Albers MF1-Toyota +2 Laps
Ret Tiago Monteiro MF1-Toyota Brakes
Ret Fernando Alonso Renault Engine
Ret Pedro de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes Engine
Ret Sakon Yamamoto Super Aguri-Honda Hydraulics
Ret Nico Rosberg Williams-Cosworth Driveshaft

Fastest Lap: Kimi Räikkönen 1:22.559

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