Champions duel at Imola

Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher won today’s San Marino Grand Prix (April 23rd) after beating Fernando Alonso at Imola. This was the German’s 85th Grand Prix victory and his first in this year’s championship.

It was a carbon-copy of last year’s race as the Ferrari and Renault challenged each other for victory. This time it was Michael ahead of Fernando to take his first ‘proper’ win after an 18-month winless spell (not including that ‘farce’ race at Indianapolis back in 2005).

Good result for the Spaniard despite finishing a close second. Eight points would do nicely for his drivers’ championship. He should have won the race but the team took the risk to pit the car earlier than expected (in the second pit-stop), in order to get ahead of the Ferrari… It didn’t work out and Alonso tried his best to past the leading Ferrari in the closing stages of the Grand Prix.

McLaren’s Juan Pablo Montoya drove a solid race from seventh to finish third. But I expected a better result/pace from McLaren by now…

As for Jenson Button, he is suffering so much bad luck lately… Looked promising when he qualified second and was able to keep up the pace of Michael in the earlier stages of the race. It all went wrong during the second pit-stop when the lollipop man gave the all-clear signal to go, despite the fuel hose still attached to the car…

Chaos in Melbourne and yet Fernando takes the win

Wow, what a crazy and yet exciting Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne. So much promise from Honda and Jenson Button to win his first Formula One race after qualifying on pole position. But alas, Button suffered bad luck and failed to finish on the last lap…

From hero in qualifying to zero in an action-packed race. Great win for Renault’s Fernando Alonso who extends his championship lead with 28 points with his first Australian Grand Prix victory. It was an easy race for Alonso, who overtook Button’s Honda on the first restart (after the Safety Car).

His team-mate, Giancarlo Fisichella, did his best after a mixed weekend. Confident that he will have a good result in Melbourne after his win in Sepang, Giancarlo stalled his car on the starting grid. Then spun during the first Safety Car period! And was lucky enough to grab fifth position when Button’s Honda engine blew up on the last two corners…

McLaren’s Kimi Raikkonen finished second but had a moment when he overtook Button’s on the second restart. The Finn locked up going to Turn 1 as he made his past. This resulted in a ‘flat-spot’ tyre which damaged the end plates on his front wing. Meaning he struggle to keep up the pace with race leader Alonso. But the team changed the nose-cone/wing during another safety car period without losing track position.

Third place for Toyota’s Ralf Schumacher despite speeding in the pit lane and serving a stop-go penalty. Fantastic result for the German and the Japanese team after struggling in the last two races this year.

It was an entertaining race filled with many incidents including both Ferraris crashed out (Felipe Massa crashed into Nico Rosberg’s Williams and Christian Klien’s Red Bull Racing at the first corner; with Michael Schumacher losing control when behind Jenson). Juan Pablo Montoya’s embrassing spin during the warm-up lap! Then his car ‘shut-down’ when he nearly hit the wall at the same corner where Michael crashed… Home town hero Mark Webber was leading a race in his Williams but broke down before his first pit-stop. He was looking good for a podium finish.

As for Button, he should have come home fifth, but as he turned into the final corner his Honda engine detonated, engulfing the close-following Fisichella in an oily cloud of smoke. Whether Button could have coasted across the finishing line quickly became a moot point, as he was instructed over the radio to pull to a stop to allow Honda to make a penalty-free engine change before the San Marino Grand Prix.