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July 19th, 2006

Chalk Up Another One

French Grand Prix
By Karen Nielsen

Photos courtesy and copyright Ferrari Media

"We did it again, we did it again!!!"

Since Erik was winging his way to Japan during Sunday's race, you get to hear from his wife. She doesn't write much, so go easy on the criticism. Our mailbox can only hold so much.

With Sunday's win at Magny-Cours Schumacher takes home yet another record - winning the same Grand Prix eight times. The win was also his 88th career win, and his 150th podium appearance. It also brings him within 17 points of defending Champion Alonso. Don't write him off, yet.

Ferrari ran a three stop strategy and Renault wound up running a two stopper. After Massa politely closed the door on Alonso's passing attempt at the start, Alonso took on a bit more fuel than the Ferraris on their first stops and was able to stay out longer on the 2nd stint. It paid off by keeping Alonso in that second spot. His teammate, Fisichella, managed to finish 6th after starting 7th.

The Podium

Ralf brought the Toyota into 4th, thanks in part to teammate Jarno Trulli developing brake problems in lap 39. Besides that, he drove a solid race.

McLaren-Mercedes did so-so. Kimi brought it home in 5th place. That means the team actually gave him a car that could go the distance. For a change. His new teammate, Pedro de la Rosa gained two points by bringing his car in at 7th place. But, it went Mc-Klunking on the cool down lap and ended in a smoky haze.

Schumacher making the rounds.

So, The Trash Talking Colombian is moving to NASCAR? Oh, goody. "NASCAR", good ol' American for "bumper cars". Maybe someone can talk Zinadine Zidane into driving as Montoya's teammate. They both seem to be pretty good at knocking people off of things (like the track or their feet). Let's just hope Jeff Gordon doesn't take that "Swapping Paint" thing too far and try to move into F1. Oh, Bernie, help us all.

Is anybody surprised Montoya "bowed out" of driving Sunday? Had I been in charge, I'd have thrown him out on his arse and let everyone within the galaxy know it. Might that be why I'm not running a Formula 1 team.

Villeneuve might be going to NASCAR, too? That's been a rumour for years. Make up your mind, kid. One year you're driving; the next your not; now you're driving again; maybe you'll try NASCAR. Good grief kid, you change your mind more often than Danika Patrick changes her high heels!!! Rumour has it those heels are taking a glance toward NASCAR, too.

And, Mika Hakkinen? Mika, I'm begging you, don't do it!!!! Who am I kidding, he doesn't read this.

In all seriousness, my friends and I have had a great time coming up with possible paint schemes and sponsorship packages for these guys. Unfortunately, I can't share any of them, else my sneakered keister would be in deep tapioca. But, it's been a great way to reconnect with some old friends.

Filipe Massa

Heidfeld finished last on the lead lap in 8th, unlike his teammate, Villeneuve, who finished a lap down in 11th. Yawn. Then, again, everybody else finished a lap down, or worse, too.

There's not much to say about the rest of the field. Most of them finished. Scott Speed finished in 10th while driving with a pinched nerve. Think he had a good day?

The "not so" Super Aguri-Hondas lived up to expectations. Montagny, who managed to finish, albeit in 16th placed, will be replaced at Hockenheim by Sakon Yamamoto. Montagny is stepping down into the 3rd driver role with the team. His teammate Sato-san barely made it to turn 6. Barely made it off the line for the formation lap, too. Hmm, "barely making it" Super Aguri-Honda just doesn't have the same ring to it. Maybe the new car they are bringing to Hockenheim will change some of that.

Schumacher and Brawn watching pit-stop practice. So, who's in the car????

Monteiro gets points for style by taking his car airborne after riding the kerbs a bit hard. Talk about short and sweet? Unfortunately, those points don't count for much.

Honda didn't improve their standing, this week. Neither driver finished the race.

Williams-Cosworth's Webber bowed out after 5 pit stops, a tyre delamination, and wheel rim damage.

The circus moves to Hockenheim in two weeks. And, with the news from NASCAR, the silly season just gets sillier everyday.

Hopefully, Erik will be back in two weeks.

Race Results

1 M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari 1h32m07.803s
2 ALONSO Renault + 10.1s
3 MASSA Ferrari + 22.5s
4 R.SCHUMACHER Toyota + 27.2s
5 RÄIKKÖNEN McLaren-Mercedes + 33.0s
6 FISICHELLA Renault + 45.2s
7 DE LA ROSA McLaren-Mercedes + 49.4s
8 HEIDFELD Sauber-BMW + 1 lap
9 COULTHARD RBR-Ferrari + 1 lap
10 SPEED STR-Cosworth + 1 lap
11 VILLENEUVE Sauber-BMW + 1 lap
12 KLIEN RBR-Ferrari + 1 lap
13 LIUZZI STR-Cosworth + 1 lap
14 ROSBERG Williams-Cosworth + 2 laps
15 ALBERS MF1-Toyota + 2 laps
16 MONTAGNY Super Aguri-Honda + 3 laps
17 BUTTON Honda + 9 laps, technical
18 WEBBER Williams-Cosworth + 17 laps, wheel rim
19 TRULLI Toyota + 31 laps, brakes
20 BARRICHELLO Honda + 52 laps, engine
21 MONTEIRO MF1-Toyota + 59 laps, mechanical
22 SATO Super Aguri-Honda + 70 laps, transmission
Fastest Lap M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari 1m17.111s

Driver's Championship Standings

1 ALONSO Renault 96 Points
2 M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari 79 Points
3 FISICHELLA Renault 46 Points
4 RÄIKKÖNEN McLaren-Mercedes 43 Points
5 MASSA Ferrari 42 Points
6 MONTOYA McLaren-Mercedes 26 Points
7 BUTTON Honda 16 Points
8 BARRICHELLO Honda 16 Points
9 R.SCHUMACHER Toyota 13 Points
10 HEIDFELD Sauber-BMW 13 Points
11 COULTHARD RBR-Ferrari 10 Points
12 TRULLI Toyota 8 Points
13 VILLENEUVE Sauber-BMW 7 Points
14 WEBBER Williams-Cosworth 6 Point
15 ROSBERG Williams-Cosworth 4 Points
16 DE LA ROSA McLaren-Mercedes 2 Points
17 LIUZZI STR-Cosworth 1 Point
18 KLIEN RBR-Ferrari 1 Point

Constructor's Championship Standings

1 Renault 142 Points
2 Ferrari 121 Points
3 McLaren-Mercedes 71 Points
4 Honda 32 Points
5 Toyota 21 Points
6 Sauber-BMW 20 Points
7 RBR-Ferrari 11 Points
8 Williams-Cosworth 10 Points
9 STR-Cosworth 1 Point

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