What a freaky race! First, the qualifying, which actually points to the Friday practice where Alonso was penalized 2 seconds in each of his qualifying sessions. So Michael Schumacher only had to qualify well enough so that he has a clear gap between him and Alonso so that he can chew up some points in the lead. But no, it was not that easy. Schumacher got a 2 second penalty of his own and that became to be known/confirmed only on qualification day morning!
As a result, Schumacher ended up 11th and Alonso, 15th. Combine this with some engine changes and there were a total of 5 drivers with penalties on the grid. Kimi was on the pole and had a good chance of winning his first race of the year. About time, right?
Race day sprung another surprise. Rains! Never happened in the last 20 years! Everyone was surprised and did not know how exactly to react – what tires to use, and how to strategize. In the end, it looked like Michelin had the better tires, because after the start, where both Schumy and Alonso made up tremendous ground (and Massa got bumped down badly in the process), it was Alonso, Kimi, de la Rosa who were all coasting along in the wet track compared to the Toyotas and the Ferraris who seemed to be struggling.
Just when things were going awesome for Alonso, with a comfortable gap between him and Schumy – he in fact lapped Schumy!! – things went wrong for Alonso. After his pit stop he came out and almost immediately, spun out with a tire/wheel issue! Out of the race! Out! Yay, for Schumy fans! He was already 3rd by that time, so he only needed to finish the race to chew up 6 points off the 11 point lead.
But there was another twist waiting to happen – Schumacher was on intermediates and the guy behind him, de la Rosa was on dry tires and he was certainly going quicker than Schumy. It was either Schumy takes a pitstop and sacrifices 3 spots and finishes well, or he goes on, losing maybe 1 spot but risking not completing the race. Knowing Schumy, it was a no-brainer – he continued with the risk. He did something silly at one corner when de la Rosa clearly had him but Schumy went across the chicane and came up ahead of de la Rosa. Schumy should have given up one spot there, because it was clearly unfair. But he did not.
But de la Rosa eventually got him fair and square and Schumy was now 4th. With two laps to go, the final twist (race-wise) came about and Schumy’s car gave up! He had to pull in and get parked! Oh no! There go the freebie points.
Jenson Button claimed his first F1 victory and I am happy for him. Finally he gets the big one.
And this morning I read about Schumacher getting bumped up to 8th spot becauise Kubica’s car was found to be too light! So the lead is now 10 points.
Can’t wait for the next race!!