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The U.S. Grand Prix Goes All German

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The US Grand Prix held in the American 'Home of Motorsport' at Indianapolis Motor Speedway was a brilliant success, in stark contrast to last year's debacle.

It was Formula 1’s seventh, and from the looks of the attendance figures, was possibly the most successful year so far. This is good news for the American fans as the contract to keep the pinnacle of motorsport at the brickyard is due for renewal this year. The fans showed they approve of the event, so let’s hope that the powers that be can make the right decision.

Michael Schumacher and Filipe Massa picked up the first one-two for the Scudderia Ferrari outfit this season, in a dominant display of power.

The Ferrari team were obviously helped by a very good Bridgestone tyre, as the other Bridsgestone runners of Midland F1 and Toyota also put in a sterling display, with some unfortunate bad luck for Ralph as a wheel bearing failed with only 11 laps remaining.

The race was not without incident, with only nine cars finishing. The McLaren cars seemed to have caused a massive accident at turn two when Juan Pablo Montoya ran into the back of team mate Kimi Raikkonen. This caused Scott Speed, Jenson Button and Nick Heidfeld to have incidents and retire; Heidfeld actually rolled his car three times over but he got out unhurt and quite upbeat despite it all, remarking, “It’s the first time I’ve rolled in a car!”

38109_2.gifChristian Klien, Mark Webber and Franck Montagny had an incident at the first cornerl that caused them all to retire as well; these incidents brought out the safety car for five laps. This helped Jarno Trulli, who started from the pits, to catch the rest of the pack, and as he was on a one stop strategy allowed him to finish in fourth, with possibly the best drive of the day.

The restart saw Massa with a turn of pace driving away from Michael Schumacher, with Rubens Barrichello, Ralf Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve close behind the seven- time world champion.

However, Villeneuve was forced to retire on lap 23 with suspected hydraulics failure, a pity, really, as the BMW Sauber looked to have good race pace. The pit stops saw the Ferraris trade places at the top. Schumacher had a great in-lap with Massa having a very poor out-lap; this allowed Schumacher to take control of the race and never looked to be challenged for the lead at any point. He showed that the Ferraris had paced well above their running, setting the fastest lap of 1:12.719.

The shock of the race, and the weekend as a whole, was the apparent trouble of Fernando Alonso. The world champion struggled to get on the pace of the Ferraris or even that of his teammate all weekend. He was clearly struggling with understeer in qualifying, and then was heard to say that the car was oversteering during the race. The Renault, however, seemed to be at least on the ‘also ran’ pace in the hands of his team mate Giancarlo Fisichella.

schumacher2-lg_1.jpgUnited Grand Prix Results – 2 July 2006 – 73 Laps

POS DRIVER NATIONALITY ENTRANT TIRE LAPS TIME/RETIRE

1. Michael Schumacher  – Germany Ferrari  73 1h34m35.199
2. Felipe Massa – Brazil Ferrari  73 7.984
3. Giancarlo Fisichella – Italy Renault  73 16.595
4. Jarno Trulli – Italy Toyota  73 23.604
5. Fernando Alonso – Spain Renault  73 28.410
6. Rubens Barrichello – Brazil Honda  73 36.516

7. David Coulthard – Britain Red Bull-Ferrari  72 1 Lap
8. Vitantonio Liuzzi – Italy Toro Rosso-Cosworth  72 1 Lap
9. Nico Rosberg – Germany Williams-Cosworth  72 1 Lap
R Ralf Schumacher – Germany Toyota  62 Engine
R Christijan Albers – Netherlands MF1-Toyota  37 Retired
R Jacques Villeneuve – Canada Sauber-BMW  23 Engine
R Tiago Monteiro – Portugal MF1-Toyota  9 Damage
R Takuma Sato – Japan Super Aguri-Honda  6 Accident
R Jenson Button – Britain Honda  3 Damage
R Kimi Raikkonen – Finland McLaren-Mercedes  0 Accident
R Nick Heidfeld – Germany Sauber-BMW  0 Accident
R Juan Pablo Montoya – Colombia McLaren-Mercedes  0 Accident
R Mark Webber – Australia Williams-Cosworth  0 Accident
R Scott Speed – United States Toro Rosso-Cosworth  0 Accident
R Christian Klien – Austria Red Bull-Ferrari  0 Accident
R Franck Montagny – France Super Aguri-Honda  0 Accident

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