Michael Schumacher set a serious step to a sixth championship in Formula One today, by increasing the gap with Raikkonen to 9 points, and to Montoya to 10. This also means the end of Montoya's championship hopes for this year, since he has less victories than today's winner. A bad and exciting start promised to be a very exciting race, however heavy rain disrupted the whole ranking.
Two periods of rain mixed up the whole final result, where during the first short one, most runners decided to remain on dry tyres, where the Michelin's had a slight advantage over the Japanese tyres. It was however the second heavy rain that was important, with Button coming into the lead because of a very good strategy, followed by the two Saubers and M. Schumacher. Montoya was by that time already one lap down due to errors of his own, most likely because of the difficult drivability of his car in the infield. Williams had chosen to opt for high topspeed, which cost them serious time during rain in the infield, with lack of grip. Kimi Raikkonen was also down, but managed to work his way back up to the top of the ranking.
It was overall a straight run for the finish with Michael taking the win, Kimi second, Heinz-Harald Frentzen third, Jarno Trulli fourth, Nick Heidfeld fifth, Juan Pablo Montoya sixth, Giancarlo Fisichella seventh and Justin Wilson eighth, earning his first points for Jaguar. Sauber are now up to fifth place in the championship while Ferrari have retaken the lead.
Now we head to Suzuka where Michael will need just one point to clinch the championship!
|2.||6||RAIKKONEN||McLaren Mercedes||M||+ 0'18"258||3|
|3.||10||FRENTZEN||Sauber Petronas||B||+ 0'37"964||2|
|5.||9||HEIDFELD||Sauber Petronas||B||+ 0'56"403||3|
|6.||3||MONTOYA||Williams BMW||M||1 lap(s)||4|
|7.||11||FISICHELLA||Jordan Ford||B||1 lap(s)||2|
|8.||15||WILSON||Jaguar Cosworth||M||2 lap(s)||2|
|9.||21||DA MATTA||Toyota||M||2 lap(s)||6|
|10.||19||VERSTAPPEN||Minardi Cosworth||B||4 lap(s)||3|
|11.||18||KIESA||Minardi Cosworth||B||4 lap(s)||5|
|12.||16||VILLENEUVE||BAR Honda||B||10 lap(s)||4|
|13.||12||FIRMAN||Jordan Ford||B||25 lap(s)||6|
|14.||5||COULTHARD||McLaren Mercedes||M||28 lap(s)||4|
|16.||17||BUTTON||BAR Honda||B||32 lap(s)||1|
|18.||14||WEBBER||Jaguar Cosworth||M||52 lap(s)||0|
|19.||4||R.SCHUMACHER||Williams BMW||M||52 lap(s)||1|