European Grand Prix – The Race

Michael SchumacherMichael Schumacher banked on a terrific pit-stop strategy to leapfrog Fernando Alonso and won the European Grand Prix at Nurburgring in style. It was the second successive win for the German and the Ferrari, after their win at Imola and it has laid to rest the rumours that Ferrari was down and out,atleast temporarily! The race was pretty interesting from the first lap itself, when Liuzzi was sidelined into the Red Bull of David Coulthard and both of them had to retire subsequently.Mark Webber also had to retire and from thereon, the race focus again shifted to the lead pack where all front-runners were separated by mere seconds, which made the race all the more interesting.

All of the front runners were on a two-pitstop strategy and after the first round of stops, it was Fernando Alonso in the lead being chased by the two ferraris of Michael Schumacher. Kimi Raikkonen managed a neat overtaking maneouvre on Jenson Button to shoot into fourth place; Button retired later in the race with engine problems. Also out of the race were Juan Pablo Montoya, Ralf Schumacher, Christian Klien and the Super Aguris. The real twist in the tale came around the 2nd round of pitstops. Alonso pitted on Lap 38 but Schumacher chose to stay out and put some stunning laps and combined with a near-perfect pitstop of only 6.8 seconds,on th 41st lap, managed to come out ahead of Alonso and from thereon he never looked back. Alonso was content with the 2nd place though! Podium Places at NurburgringKimi Raikkonen could not pull off the same trick on the second Ferrari of Felipe Massa and Massa held on to take the first podium place of his career. The battle for the 5th.6th & 7th places was also a raging one as Barrichello, Fisichella & Rosberg all huddled close to each other for most part of the last 15 laps or so. They finished the race in that order while Villeneuve took the last point-scoring position. The Next race is in a week's time at Catalunya.
The race would go down as the second successive one where Michael and Ferrari have stamped their authority. While Imola would be remembered for the neat driving skills of the German ace, it was the strategy managed to hand victory to the team in Nurburgring.

Formula1.com says: The result puts Schumacher a little closer to Alonso, 44 points to 31, but Renault still have a sizeable advantage in the constructors’ stakes with 62 points to Ferrari’s 46 and McLaren’s 39. With Barcelona coming up next week, Alonso believes that Renault and Michelin will be very strong there, but Michael Schumacher also believes that Ferrari will be just as good as they were here. The Championship is well and truly hotting up.

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