September 10, 2006
*SCHUMACHER WINS, ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT: That about wraps the storyline, doesn't it? Like him or not, Michael Schumacher is arguably the greatest F1 driver of all time, and while he has been showing cracks in the armor (Australia and Hungary come to mind), he's still a top-flight driver. One gets the distinct impression that he's being pushed out the door by Ferrari -- the scene with Luca diMontezemalo after the race showed he's not all that thrilled with the head of the Fiat empire-- and now the question becomes "what next?"
*ALONSO KA-BLAMMO: Since there wasn't enough drama in the storyline, Fernando Alonso's catastrophic engine failure with eight laps to go means he now only has a two point lead in the driver's championship with three races to go. He has the advantage, but only barely.
*TEAM OF THE RACE: BMW-Sauber. Both cars in the points, a driver that wasn't even racing with the team at the beginning of the season on the podium? Can you even IMAGINE Sauber-Petronas doing that last year? Darn shame it happens in the race Schumi announces his retirement.
*DRIVE OF THE RACE: Robert Kubica, BMW-Sauber. Third race of his career, he leads a handful of laps, outdrives Felipe Massa for most of the day, and ends up third and on the podium? Brilliant job for the first Polish driver in F1 history! Suddenly Nico Rosberg's "rookie of the year" award seems to be in jeopardy, doesn't it? Honorable Mention goes to Michael Schumacher, just because.
*MOVE OF THE RACE: We here at F1 UPDATE! were beginning to despair of being able to name a winner for this award... and then the award was wrapped up and handed to us with a bow on top. Lap 41, Robert the Pole and 'Nando in third and fourth, respectively, come into the pits nose-to-tail for their final stop. Renault gets their man out a smidge faster, but Kubica pulls into the lane RIGHT NEXT to Alonso... and we get the odd sight of a pit-lane-limited drag race to the pit-out. They both hit the line at the same time, but Alonso, showing the consumate skill of a champion (and the remarkable acceleration and grip Renault has at no/low speed) gets the advantage and the place by the first turn braking zone. Of course, it all came to naught when his engine blew both banks a few laps later, but Alonso and his pit crew still gets the MotY.
*MOOOOOOOO-OOVE OF THE RACE: The celebration of the cud-chewing, milk-laden bovine lurking in every F1 driver, the Moooooo-oove for the Italian GP goes to Felipe Massa's attempt to follow Alonso engine-blown Renault thru the first chicane. He flatspots his tires, picks up chunks of powerplant with his front right tire, and drops out of the points at a time that Ferrari desperatly needs every point it can get. Felipe Massa, this Mooooo-oove's for you. (please note, we dislike giving this award to Massa. It truly wasn't his fault he couldn't see through all the smoke, it wasn't his fault his tire got spiked... but in a way, it was. He gets the award, but we're not really sold on it.)
QUOTES OF THE RACE: more...
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