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The United States Grand Prix

So at last Michael has managed to break Alonso’s winning streak by netting his fifth Indianapolis victory. I’ll say nothing about the convenience of his passing his team mate, Felipe Massa, in the first pit stop. After all, I have never had anything against team orders, knowing that they have been a part of F1 since its inception.

M Schumacher

Michael Schumacher

The race was interesting from several aspects. It was clear, for instance, that Bridgestone had an advantage over Michelin at this track. And this was obviously the result of Michelin going conservative in its determination not to have a repeat of last year’s fiasco, in spite of all their denials. Both the extent of Ferrari’s superiority in practice and the race and Toyota’s sudden equality with Renault were adequate demonstration of this. I have no doubt that things will return to normal once the teams re-assemble in Magny Cours for the French Grand Prix.

Trulli’s drive from last to fourth place was magnificent, even taking the tire advantage into account. And it is a shame that Ralf had to retire his Toyota before reaping the rewards of an impressive drive. It seems that Indy loves one Schumacher but hates the other.

For me, however, the high point in the race came at the moment Liuzzi managed to slip by Rosberg. He was driving what only a short time ago was called a Minardi; this must surely be the only time in history that a Minardi has passed a Williams, albeit in Toro Rosso form. How the mighty are fallen.

Speaking of Toro Rosso, we are reminded of Scott Speed and how sad we were to see him eliminated in the multi-car pile up at Turn 2 on the first lap. Liuzzi showed that the Toro Rosso was better than expected on this circuit and Scott might well have been able to score a point or two if he had avoided the accident. I can only hope that America will continue to follow his fortunes for the rest of the season, now that he has had some media coverage.

That pile up also gave us the rare sight of the McLarens taking each other out. Shades of the Prost/Senna days. Montoya gets the blame, although an accident always looked inevitable in that frantic scramble for position. It’s been a while, too, since we saw an F1 car somersaulting through the air as did Heidfeld’s BMW Sauber.

Heidfeld

Nick Heidfeld

Finally, there is the excellent performance of Fisichella, for once in the better Renault. For the first stint he was the only one to stand a remote chance of staying with the Ferraris and, when even that chance disappeared, he kept to his task and grabbed third place. It was a timely reminder that he is no slouch when his luck holds out.

So it was an interesting race in spite of all the retirements. And Michael has clawed back some of Alonso’s advantage in points. Nineteen seems a huge gap until one realizes that it’s only two race wins against two retirements. Keep finishing those races, Fernando!

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