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October 25th, 2006

An Era Comes to an End

Brazilian Grand Prix
By Erik Nielsen

Photos courtesy and copyright Ferrari Media

The Podium

The tifosi received a win to cheer for today, but those that were hoping for Schumacher to go out with a pair of titles were disappointed. Rising star Filipe Massa was able to drive from pole to win much to the delight of his home crowd. The Brazilian's victory should provide some momentum to the team going into the 2007 season, but let's face it, F1 will be different next year.

Fernando Alonso had a bit of luck on his side this weekend and he drove a rather uneventful race to come home second and bring both titles home this year. Renault managed to put together a great string of wins early in the season that none of the other competitors could surpass, making the young Spaniard world famous in Spain. His drive was a bit overshadowed by everyone's knowing that Michael wasn't going to be around after this weekend and the German tried hard to help the team, but in the end, the numbers didn't add up.

Jenson Button was back on the podium and may have a shot with the mix next year. But, for what he was paid, Honda needs to revisit their strategy and see if they are getting full value for their yen. They may need to consider hiring Sato-san. Yes, I know he finished tenth this weekend, but he drove a great drive in a really poor chassis. Who knows what he would do if he had a better car. That and he can talk to his engineers in a language they truly understand.

Michael Schumacher didn't give up the fight and as always was trying to be as competitive as possible. He gave the fans their money's worth this weekend with a race that turned into a rollercoaster for some. It looked like he really did have a shot of winning the race until Fisichella's wing deflated his rear tire mid race relegating him back to 19th. Then, the Schumacher that we're all going to miss, made one last appearance and drove through the field to end up in fourth when the laps ran out. To put the icing on the cake, yes, he didn't win, but he did set fastest lap and he passed his "replacement" at Ferrari with ease. I'll let the conspiracy theorists chase tales of being forced into retirement or not willing to go head to head with Kimi next year, but he still was good for the sport, even when he wasn't winning.

Grazie Michael

Kimi was just waiting to get out of the McLaren by the end of the race and into a more competitive car. The fact that Darth Vader's team was winless has to be on Alonso's mind now that the champagne buzz is starting to wear off. Betting pools have started to see when Flabio comes out and says that it was the Spaniard's biggest mistake of his career. Personally, I give it two weeks.

Fisichella tried to do his job of keeping Schumacher at bay, but the bosses at Renault can't be happy that their new number one could do no better than sixth. It could have been worse, he could have been passed by a Toyota.

Barrichello helped score more points for Honda, but other than that, no one really was paying attention to him. Even in his own back yard. Poor Rubino...

Hey! Those aren’t Ferrari colors! Filipe Massa in his Brazilian Flag Uniform.

The last points of the day went to Pedro De La Rosa, but only Ron Dennis was watching. Mercedes wasn't happy with the way the year turned out for their silver arrows. But they did beat Poland, or at least Poland's top driver. Robert Kubica managed to stay on the lead lap and the youngster is a driver to keep an eye on.

The Red Bull and Spyker cars were nothing more than moving billboards this weekend. But with the exception of Coulthard's retirement, these two small companies both took on Toyota this weekend and won. But then again, Toyota has proved they can build masses of cars people like, but they are a bit lacking in the F1 wins column.

Michael Schumacher and Pele

With Schumacher's retirement, there will probably be an exodus of fair weather Ferrari fans that didn't stick through the late 80's and early 90's. Time will tell if the next batch of drivers that are signed for 2007 will be able to pull the crowds that we saw this year. But, it's still just a circus and when you get tired of watching elephant shit, you move on. I'm going to stick around; it is going to be interesting not really knowing what will happen during the race once again.

Michael Schumacher and Filipe Massa

Race Results

1 MASSA Ferrari 1h31m53.751s
2 ALONSO Renault + 18.6s
3 BUTTON Honda + 19.3s
4 M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari + 24.0s
5 RÄIKKÖNEN McLaren-Mercedes + 28.5s
6 FISICHELLA Renault + 30.2s
7 BARRICHELLO Honda + 40.2s
8 DE LA ROSA McLaren-Mercedes + 52.0s
9 KUBICA Sauber-BMW + 67.6s
10 SATO Super Aguri-Honda + 1 lap
11 SPEED STR-Cosworth + 1 lap
12 DOORNBOS RBR-Ferrari + 1 lap
13 LIUZZI STR-Cosworth + 1 lap
14 ALBERS MF1-Toyota + 1 lap
15 MONTEIRO MF1-Toyota + 2 laps
16 YAMAMOTO Super Aguri-Honda + 2 laps
17 HEIDFELD Sauber-BMW + 8 laps, accident
18 COULTHARD RBR-Ferrari + 57 laps, gearbox
19 TRULLI Toyota + 61 laps, suspension
20 R.SCHUMACHER Toyota + 62 laps, suspension
21 WEBBER Williams-Cosworth + 70 laps, accident
22 ROSBERG Williams-Cosworth + 71 laps, accident
Fastest Lap M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari 1m12.162s

Driver's Championship Standings

1 ALONSO Renault 134 Points
2 M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari 121 Points
3 MASSA Ferrari 80 Points
4 FISICHELLA Renault 72 Points
5 RÄIKKÖNEN McLaren-Mercedes 65 Points
6 BUTTON Honda 56 Points
7 BARRICHELLO Honda 30 Points
8 MONTOYA McLaren-Mercedes 26 Points
9 HEIDFELD Sauber-BMW 23 Points
10 R.SCHUMACHER Toyota 20 Points
11 DE LA ROSA McLaren-Mercedes 19 Points
12 TRULLI Toyota 15 Points
13 COULTHARD RBR-Ferrari 14 Points
14 WEBBER Williams-Cosworth 7 Points
15 VILLENEUVE Sauber-BMW 7 Points
16 KUBICA Sauber-BMW 6 Points
17 ROSBERG Williams-Cosworth 4 Points
18 KLIEN RBR-Ferrari 2 Points
19 LIUZZI STR-Cosworth 1 Point

Constructor's Championship Standings

1 Renault 206 Points
2 Ferrari 201 Points
3 McLaren-Mercedes 110 Points
4 Honda 86 Points
5 Sauber-BMW 36 Points
6 Toyota 35 Points
7 RBR-Ferrari 16 Points
8 Williams-Cosworth 11 Points
9 STR-Cosworth 1 Point

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