2006 Brazilian Grand Prix


2006 Brazilian Grand Prix

Infobox Grand Prix race report
Type = F1
Country = Brazil
Grand Prix = Brazilian
date=October 22
year=2006

|220px
Caption =
Race_No = 18
Season_No = 18
Official name = XXXV Grande Prêmio do Brasil
location=Autódromo José Carlos Pace, São Paulo, Brazil
Course = Permanent racing facility
Course_mi = 2.677
Course_km = 4.309
Distance_laps = 71
Distance_mi = 190.067
Distance_km = 305.909
Weather =
Pole_Driver = Felipe Massa
Pole_Team = Ferrari
Pole_Time = 1:10.680
Pole_Country = Brazil
Fast_Driver = Michael Schumacher
Fast_Team = Ferrari
Fast_Time = 1:12.162
Fast_L

Fast_Country = Germany
First_Driver = Felipe Massa
First_Team = Ferrari
First_Country = Brazil
Second_Driver = Fernando Alonso
Second_Team = Renault
Second_Country = Spain
Third_Driver = Jenson Button
Third_Team = Honda
Third_Country = United Kingdom
The 2006 Brazilian Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held on October 22, 2006 at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace, São Paulo. It was the 18th and final race of the 2006 Formula One season. The race determined the drivers' and constructors' championships for the season, with Fernando Alonso and Renault winning their respective championships. This was also the last Grand Prix of seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher's career. The race itself attracted 154 million viewers. [cite news |last=Spurgeon |first=Brad |url=http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/03/15/sports/PRIX.php |title=Season opens with the focus on younger faces |publisher=International Herald Tribune |date=2007-03-15 |accessdate=2007-10-10 ]

The race was won by Ferrari's Felipe Massa, with Renault's Fernando Alonso coming in second and Honda's Jenson Button taking third. Massa's win was the first time that a Brazilian driver had won their home grand prix since Ayrton Senna in 1993. Michael Schumacher finished fourth despite starting the race in 10th position and having a punctured tyre during the race.

Report

Pre-race

Following Michael Schumacher's engine failure and Fernando Alonso's victory in the previous race in Japan, Alonso was now 10 points ahead of Schumacher in the Drivers' Championship, therefore Alonso would clinch the championship unless Schumacher went on to win the race and Alonso failed to score a single point. This circumstance was a highly improbable situation, given the performance of the Renaults through the year despite the Ferraris being easily the fastest car of the weekend. Michael Schumacher had realised this at Suzuka and had admitted defeat then. Felipe Massa went into the race holding third place in the championship, one point ahead of fourth place Giancarlo Fisichella, who in turn could have his fourth place taken off him as Kimi Räikkönen was 9 points behind him. The final place in the top six of the Drivers' Championship was secure, as the current occupant, Jenson Button, was 11 points behind Räikkönen and 22 points ahead of his Honda teammate, Rubens Barrichello, with a maximum of 10 points available.In terms of the Constructors' Championship, Renault were leading Ferrari by nine points, meaning that Renault had to score 10 points to secure the title. Third place McLaren were safe in third place with 105 points: 81 points behind Ferrari and 27 points ahead of fourth place Honda. Meanwhile, BMW Sauber and Toyota were still competing for fifth place; with only one point between the two, but their top 6 position was secure as seventh place Red Bull Racing were 19 points behind Toyota.

Räikkönen had a good start to the weekend, and set the fastest time during the first practice session with 1:13.764. Anthony Davidson managed to take second in his Honda, but none of the Renaults or Ferraris set a competitive time, with Renault opting just to do one installation lap apiece. Alexander Wurz and Sebastian Vettel completed the top four. [cite news |last=Collings |first=Tim |url=http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/55257 |title=Raikkonen quickest in practice 1 - Brazil |publisher=Autosport |date=2006-10-20 |accessdate=2007-05-27 ]

Before the race began, Michael Schumacher was given a lifetime achievement award by footballer Pelé.

Race

Start

At the start Felipe Massa retained his lead going into the first bend, ahead of Kimi Räikkönen and Jarno Trulli. Championship elect Fernando Alonso kept his fourth position despite a challenge around the outside of the first corner by Rubens Barrichello's Honda. Michael Schumacher had a decent start from his 10th position on the grid and was on the inside of the two BMW Saubers going into the first corner, but had to back off to avoid a collision. He would pass both BMWs three corners later as they were slowed by Robert Kubica overtaking team-mate Nick Heidfeld on the back straight. A little further behind, the two Williams-Cosworths collided as Nico Rosberg hit the back of Mark Webber's car going into turn 4. Both cars were severely damaged with Webber retiring at the end of the lap with a missing rear wing. Rosberg in turn had another high-speed crash on the uphill main straight brought about by the damage sustained in the earlier contact with his team-mate. Rosberg was unhurt but the scattered debris on the track led to the safety car being deployed to allow for the track to be cleaned. Before the safety car was deployed, Michael Schumacher was able to make up another two positions by passing his brother on the outside as they came across the grid to begin lap two, and Barrichello's Honda, who had himself been overtaken on the outside into turn 1 by Giancarlo Fisichella, on the back straight.

Safety car

As the safety car picked up the field at the end of lap 2, Massa led Räikkönen, Trulli and Alonso with Fisichella and Michael Schumacher moving up to 5th and 6th respectively. Barrichello, Ralf Schumacher, Kubica and Button completed the top ten, Button having taken advantage of the two Williams retiring and having passed Heidfeld and Pedro de la Rosa.

Restart

The restart took place on lap six and saw Button move past Kubica on the inside as the two crossed the line only 38/1000s apart. Michael Schumacher was also soon to attack Fisichella's Renault, forcing the Italian to protect the inside line in turns 4 and 5. On the next lap Button went past Ralf Schumacher up to 8th while Massa was pulling away comfortably from his pursuers at the front. His team-mate Schumacher proceeded to move past Fisichella around the outside on the main straight, but as he turned into the first corner, Fisichella's front wing appeared to make very light contact with the Ferrari's left rear tire. Indeed Schumacher's car began to slide violently in the next corner as his tire deflated forcing the German to drive the entire lap at significantly reduced speed, and to see the entire field move past him in the process. The Ferrari team took eleven seconds to change all four tires - taking the opportunity to add fuel as well. When Schumacher rejoined, he was only a few seconds in front of his team-mate Massa thus being almost a lap down on the race leader.

The two Ferraris proceeded to post the quickest lap times with Massa comfortably increasing his gap to Räikkönen in second, while the Toyotas hit trouble with first Ralf Schumacher and then Jarno Trulli retiring in the pits on lap 10. This meant that the order on lap 11 was: 1st Massa, 2nd Räikkönen, 3rd Alonso, 4th Fisichella, 5th Barrichello, 6th Button, 7th Kubica, 8th de la Rosa, 9th Heidfeld, 10th Scott Speed, 11th Vitantonio Liuzzi, 12th David Coulthard, 13th Takuma Sato, 14th Christijan Albers, 15th Sakon Yamamoto, 16th Robert Doornbos, 17th Tiago Monteiro and 18th and last Michael Schumacher's Ferrari.

The race now settled into a steady pattern with the Ferraris still quickest and Alonso closing to within two seconds of Räikkönen's McLaren. Coulthard retired his Red Bull-Ferrari with mechanical problems on lap 14. The first planned pitstops took place on lap 21 with Räikkönen, Fisichella and Barrichello all coming in for fuel and tires. Fisichella's stop was slightly slower than Barrichello's, which nearly resulted in a collision as the two exited the pitlane - the Renault driver only just maintaining his position. They reemerged on the track 7th, 8th and 9th respectively, just behind de la Rosa and Heidfeld who had hitherto been contesting 8th place with Heidfeld quicker in the corners but unable to match the McLaren's straight-line speed. Massa closed to within a couple of seconds of lapping his team-mate, setting a fastest lap of 1:12.8 before pitting on lap 23 at which point he had a 15 second gap to Alonso in second. Massa was stationary for just over 8 seconds and rejoined in third behind Button who was now in second despite having started 14th. Button pitted on the next lap, his 7.9 second stop allowing him to rejoin in 7th comfortably ahead of Fisichella and Barrichello. Alonso made his stop on the following lap and was able to rejoin just in front of Räikkönen but still behind de la Rosa and Heidfeld. Kubica then pitted from second position on lap 26 and dropped to 9th. His team-mate followed suit on lap 27 falling behind the two Toro Rosso in the process just as Button was able to slipstream Räikkönen and outbrake him into turn one. Massa now led by 17 seconds in front of de la Rosa, who would not stop until 8 laps later. Alonso, Button and Räikkönen followed with a small gap back to Fisichella and Barrichello.

Michael Schumacher's pursuit

Michael Schumacher had moved up to 13th courtesy of pitstops by the Aguris and on lap 31 he moved past Doornbos and closed on Liuzzi who had just been involved in an incident with Heidfeld, whom he had steered into just as Heidfeld was overtaking the Italian into turn 1. The BMW driver’s front wing suffered some damage from the contact but he was able to carry on. Liuzzi then pitted leaving Schumacher 11th and just 3 seconds behind Heidfeld. They both advanced one position on lap 33 as Scott Speed also pitted in his Toro Rosso. Up front, Massa was still pulling away, now 23 seconds in front of de la Rosa, Alonso, Button and Räikkönen, who were all still very close together. De la Rosa pitted on lap 35 for his one and only pitstop (10.8s) dropping to 10th behind Schumacher, who easily passed Heidfeld for ninth on the following lap. He then proceeded to post two new fastest laps (1:12.8 and 1:12.4) as his fuel load lightened and he closed on Kubica's 8th place. Heidfeld was forced into the pits again on lap 38 to have the damaged front wing replaced, dropping him out of any contention for the points. On the following lap, Schumacher passed Kubica into turn one but then mysteriously slowed in turn 9 relinquishing the position once again, only to retake it 1½ laps later on the main straight. Schumacher then closed on 6th placed Barrichello by more than a second a lap as the leaders approached the second and last round of regular pitstops.

Barrichello was first into the pits, his stop lasting 8.3 seconds on lap 46. Schumacher followed on lap 47 having driven 36 laps since his first unscheduled stop. His stop was a clean one and he rejoined in 8th just between Barrichello and the one-stopping de la Rosa. Fisichella did his stop (7.2s) on lap 49, while Schumacher set fastest lap (1:12.3) on his new tires to close right up with his former team-mate Barrichello. Button was into the pits (7.3s) on the following lap while Schumacher effortlessly passed Barrichello on the inside on the main straight. Räikkönen was next man to pit, rejoining in forth - only just behind Button, who was busy lapping Yamamoto and the Spykers. Leader Massa made his stop on lap 52 and rejoined still in front of second placed Alonso, who also kept his position after he came in two laps later (6.8s).

M. Schumacher vs. Fisichella

Schumacher was now beginning to look threatening to the second Renault of Fisichella, which had significance for the constructors' championship. If the Ferraris could finish 1st and 2nd and the Renaults only 3rd and 6th, the two teams would finish equal on points but with the Italians in front on race victories. With 15 laps to go, Schumacher was under half a second behind Fisichella as they came across the line with Räikkönen only a few seconds further in front. However the Renault seemed able to match the Ferrari's impressive straight-line speed and Schumacher was unable to overtake as easily as he had done with other cars. On lap 57, he again mysteriously slowed in turn 9, a sign of the fact that the problems from qualifying had not gone away, but like before was able to regain speed, soon reappearing in Fisichella's mirrors. A thrilling battle ensued as Fisichella defended vehemently but on lap 62 he braked too late into turn one trying to prevent the Ferrari from overtaking on the inside. The Renault took to the grass and was only just able to rejoin still in front of Barrichello.The laps in which Schumacher was stuck behind Fisichella proved to be essential in determining the outcome of the race, the German losing a few seconds that could have made a difference in the last few laps of the race.

M. Schumacher vs. Räikkönen

Schumacher immediately closed on 4th placed Räikkönen who had been dropping back slightly from Button and Alonso. Then on lap 64, Nick Heidfeld's race was over as his BMW's rear suspension failed at the end of the main straight. Waved yellow flags ensued at turn 1, keeping Schumacher from attacking Räikkönen at his standard overtaking spot. Instead Räikkönen made a slight mistake in the hairpin turn 10 and Schumacher pulled alongside the McLaren. However he was on the outside for the following turn and had to back off, losing some ground in the process.

With four laps to go, Schumacher was ready to attack again, but Räikkönen defended by taking the inside line for the first turn. The following lap, Schumacher was even closer, and Räikkönen again took to the inside, but this time Schumacher pulled alongside, just finding enough space between the McLaren and the pit wall. The two cars went through turn one side by side, but Räikkönen finally had to give way into turn 2 as he was forced onto the dirty line of the circuit.

Finish

With just three laps left, Schumacher continued to chase down Alonso and Button, setting a new fastest lap (1:12.1) on the penultimate lap, but he was unable to catch them in time and Alonso made himself and Renault champions by finishing second behind the elated Felipe Massa, who became the first Brazilian winner in São Paulo since the late Ayrton Senna in 1993.

Post-race

]

At the end-of-season FIA Gala in December 2006 the promoters of the 2006 Brazilian Grand Prix received the Race Promoters' Trophy for their work in publicising the event. [cite web |title=F1 in the news |work=F1Fanatic.co.uk |date=2006-12-15 |url=http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2006/12/15/f1-in-the-news-15/ |accessdate=2006-12-16]

Friday drivers

Notes

* Last race: Michael Schumacher, Tiago Monteiro, Robert Doornbos, Pedro de la Rosa, Michelin tyres, Cosworth engines
* Last Fastest L
Michael Schumacher
* This was the last official race that saw tobacco advertising used (though Ferrari continued using Marlboro sponsorship until the 2007 Chinese Grand Prix. Though they still remain as a sponsor to this day, they no longer carry their name on the car).

Final championship standings

Note, only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.;Final Drivers' Championship standings;Final Constructors' Championship standings

References

F1 race report
Name_of_race = Brazilian Grand Prix
Year_of_race = 2006
Previous_race_in_season = 2006 Japanese Grand Prix
Next_race_in_season = 2007 Australian Grand Prix
Previous_year's_race = 2005 Brazilian Grand Prix
Next_year's_race = 2007 Brazilian Grand Prix
Previous_promotional_trophy_winner = 2005 Monaco Grand Prix
Next_promotional_trophy_winner = 2007 United States Grand Prix

External links

* [http://www.manipef1.com/results/2006/brazil.php Detailed Brazilian Grand Prix results]


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