Dont read on if u dont want the result
Michael Schumacher had just exited the pits for the second time whilst leading the 53-lap Japanese Grand Prix when his title hopes took a massive dive as the Ferrari V8 failed half way around the lap. Alonso soon picked his way through the smoke, lowered his revs, and cruised to the chequered flag and a ten point advantage heading to the season finale in two weeks time in Brazil in what is turning out to be a most unpredictable season of twists and turns.
Schumacher, who was tied with Alonso at the head of the championship at the start of the race, took over the lead early in the race from Pole-sitter Felipe Massa while Alonso soon worked his way up from fifth on the grid to run third behind the two Ferrari drivers. Massa would lose position to Alonso after losing time having exited the pits for the first time and found himself behind Nick Heidfeld in the BMW Sauber. It was unfortunate for Massa who was forced to pit a little early due to a suspected puncture but the fact was that the Brazilian did not have the pace in race conditions to force the issue.
Schumacher continued to lead but the massive Bridgestone advantage displayed yesterday in qualifying did not translate in the race and Schumacher was forced to work very hard to keep the gap to his title rival above five seconds. Lap 37 and it was all over for Schumacher as the engine failed in dramatic style.
Alonso is now on the verge of back-to-back titles as he needs just a single point in Brazil while Schumacher has conceded the driversâ€™ championship.
Felipe Massa had no answer to Alonsoâ€™s pace and finished in second position taking eight points for Ferrari while his runner up spot was good enough to move the Brazilian back up to third in the championship. Giancarlo Fisichella took third position in the second Renault and extended the teamâ€™s advantage in the constructorsâ€™ championship to nine points. Fisichella battled hard with the Toyota drivers early in the race but once clear quickly pulled away to take a comfortable podium position. It was an emotionally Fisichella post race and he revealed he lost a close friend last week.
Jenson Button put in a solid race. Starting seventh the Honda racer took advantage of the lack of pace from Toyota duo mid-race to vault ahead. Team-mate Rubens Barrichello had a less successful time as he was forced to pit at the end of the opening lap for a new front wing. Barrichello would work his was back up to 12th by the chequered flag.
Kimi Raikkonen made best use of a long first stint to move through the field. The start saw the Finn gain some ground, but the long first stint pushed his second and final stop late into the race and he was able to move up to fifth position. In contrast team-mate Pedro da la Rosa had a miserable race. Starting 13th he finished in 11th courtesy of Schumacherâ€™s engine failure and Barrichelloâ€™s extra stop for that front wing. It remains to be seen if the Spaniard will be in the McLaren in Brazil.
Toyota did in fact flatter only to deceive in qualifying. Starting third and fourth both Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli had a short first stint â€“ underlined by the fact that their fastest lap of the race came on lap two for both - and in opting to remain on two stops this would cost them a time following the stops as they carried more fuel relative to their rivals. Trulli held off the advances of Ralf Schumacher and finished in sixth position two seconds ahead of the second Toyota. The double points finish moves the German-based squad to with one point of rivals BMW Sauber.BR>
The final point and a critical point in fact went to Nick Heidfeld in his BMW Sauber. The German drove a steady race and withstood pressure from team-mate Robert Kubica who drove a very good race - apart from one mistake that saw him off track at Degner 2 â€“setting the sixth best lap of the race as he closed in on his team-mate.
Nico Rosberg started tenth and was unable to make up any ground in his Williams Cosworth while team-mate Mark Webber crashed out of the race late on after running wide on the approach to the start finish straight. With de la Rosa 11th and Barrichello 12th in his Honda, Robert Doornbos survived the race and took 13th on what has been a poor weekend for Red Bull Ferrari. David Coulthard retired with a gearbox failure mid-race.
Tonio Liuzzi survived his seemingly inevitable mid-race spin and finished in 14th in his Toro Rosso while team-mate Scott Speed also had his share of off track action before retiring in the closing stages with power steering failure.
Takuma Sato may have only finished 15th, but it was a very good race from the Super Aguri Honda driver. He finished one lap down ahead of Tiago Monteiro in the sole surviving Spyker MF1 Toyota. Sakon Yamamoto was the final runner finishing three laps down in the second SA06.
Christijan Albers suffered a dramatic exit in his Spyker MF1 when the M16 seemed to suffered a massive drive shaft failure which resulted in his right rear wheel breaking away, smashing the suspension and the rear wing. Fortunately for the Dutch racer, he was able maintain control and bring the car to a halt.
The F1 circus packs up and heads back to the test circuits before heading to Interlagos for the final race of the season. The title battle may be all but over, but as todayâ€™s race illustrated, you can never take anything for granted in Formula One...
1. 1 ALONSO Renault M 1h23'53"413 219.983 Km/h
2. 6 MASSA Ferrari B + 0'16"151 219.279 Km/h
3. 2 FISICHELLA Renault M + 0'23"953 218.941 Km/h
4. 12 BUTTON Honda M + 0'34"101 218.502 Km/h
5. 3 RAIKKONEN McLaren Mercedes M + 0'43"596 218.094 Km/h
6. 8 TRULLI Toyota B + 0'46"717 217.960 Km/h
7. 7 R.SCHUMACHER Toyota B + 0'48"869 217.867 Km/h
8. 16 HEIDFELD BMW Sauber M + 1'16"095 216.706 Km/h
9. 17 KUBICA BMW Sauber M + 1'16"932 216.671 Km/h
10. 10 ROSBERG Williams Cosworth B 1 lap(s)
11. 4 DE LA ROSA McLaren Mercedes M 1 lap(s)
12. 11 BARRICHELLO Honda M 1 lap(s)
13. 15 DOORNBOS RedBull Ferrari M 1 lap(s)
14. 20 LIUZZI Toro Rosso Cosw. M 1 lap(s)
15. 22 SATO S. Aguri F1 Honda B 1 lap(s)
16. 18 MONTEIRO Midland Toyota B 2 lap(s)
17. 23 YAMAMOTO S. Aguri F1 Honda B 3 lap(s)
18. 21 SPEED Toro Rosso Cosw. M 5 lap(s)
19. 9 WEBBER Williams Cosworth B 14 lap(s)
20. 5 M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari B 17 lap(s)
21. 14 COULTHARD RedBull Ferrari M 18 lap(s)
22. 19 ALBERS Midland Toyota B 33 lap(s)
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