I was wrong
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Ferrari and more specifically Michael Schumacher proved that the Ferrari is
still fast enough to win races.
It looked as if Montoya was marginally faster than Michael but he certainly was not fast enough to get past. Gene did very well to bring the second Williams home in fifth.
Raikkonen, similarly, could stay in touch with Barrichello but was also not fast enough to overtake.
Ferrari, Williams and McLaren were pretty evenly matched.
The teams now start travelling to the U.S. where they have to face Indianapolis.
Indianapolis (track layout) is a combination of Monaco and Monza. The twisty internal part of the circuit requires either a lot of downforce (big wings) or excellent mechanical grip, the outer section is very fast and needs small wings to achieve the higher speeds.
The starting grid forms in the early part of the main straight, leaving about half of the straight to build speed before braking for turn one which is taken at less than 100km/H(62mph). A great spot for carnage seeing that Renault will not have the speed to qualify well but, with their superior launch control are likely to reach this turn with the leaders.
The cars that get through turn one will build a little speed to the second corner which is negotiated at 115km/H(71mph) entering the slower inner section of the circuit. Turn 3 is a little more open and cars should scoot through there at around 230km/H(143mph). Four is slower again and 5 is back to 115km/H(71mph). Cars stay at around this speed until turn 7 which leads up to a small straight where cars get up to 300km/H(186mph) before slowing to below 120km/H(74mph) for turn 8 and staying slow again through turns 9, 10 and 11 where they start building through 250km/H(155mph) for the very fast section of the circuit. Turn 13 is very fast (over 300km/H(186mph) and the leading cars should exceed 350km/H(217mph) down the main straight.
Ferrari could still be in trouble here. They certainly proved at Monza that they have the top speed to be competitive in the faster section but at Monaco and Hungary we saw that they lacked the mechanical grip for the slower, inner, section.
Michael Schumacher leads by three points in the drivers� championship and will realise that he absolutely needs to stay in touch with the leaders. The only question is will he have the car or tyres to do it with?
On past performance Williams have to be the team to beat here. At Monza they were not slower than the Ferraris, although they could not pass them but they were very strong in Monaco and Hungary. They have the power and the chassis to win and are definitely on better rubber.
McLaren may be in the hunt but I do not expect them to be as strong as Williams. Raikkonen will want to finish ahead of Michael Schumacher but also needs to stay in touch with Montoya if he wants to have any chance for the championship.
Barrichello will either drive a brilliant race and finish on the podium (if the Ferrari can do it, which I doubt) or circulate in a pedestrian fashion. If he does well he will, like always praise the car, the team and himself, if not he will blame tyres, tyre pressures or the effect of back markers.
David Coulthard has no chance of winning unless almost all the drivers in the leading teams retire but he will enjoy the race in a leisurely fashion.
If Michael Schumacher does not win he will drive a calculated and rather boring race aimed at minimising the damage to his chances in the drivers� championship. Love him or hate him you must admire the way he never gives up.
Montoya like always will drive to the limit of his car or possibly beyond. If he wins he will pretend that it is not a big deal and have a very �What did you expect?� attitude.
If Ralf wins he will do so against team orders. He will be very fast if his car and set-up is good but unbelievably boring and uninspired if it is not. If he lands on the podium he is likely to spend most of his interview time debating comments from his critics.
Raikkonen can never be discounted. He is always fast but at times he is
brilliant. This could be one of those races.
All of them have a reason to win at all cost. All of them will be trying. This is going to be a battle between Ferrari, Williams and McLaren. The stakes are high and victory is in sight. Enjoy the race.
Agree or disagree ?
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