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Ferrari and Michael Schumacher returned to their winning form at the Italian Grand Prix while Juan Pablo Montoya failed to get past Michael in the race and in the Championship. Kimi Raikkonen dropped back a bit in the Championship but still has a chance if the other two contenders struggle. Ralf Schumacher and the rest are out of the title hunt.
The race itself was processional with very little overtaking. In fact the top 5 in qualifying finished in the same order. 

A few of the highlights:

  • Michael Schumacher's return to a winning form following a string of average results. Is it due to the low downforce track or have Ferrari really improved their package or was it the Michelin runners falling back due to the tyre regulation ?

  • Juan Pablo Montoya matched Michael Schumacher for most of the race but he gave up after losing time behind a couple of backmarkers. Should he have tried to keep the pressure on Michael until the end or was it the wise thing to do by securing 8 points.

  • Rubens Barrichello was catching Juan Pablo Montoya on the first set but fell back on the second and third sets and was caught by Kimi Raikkonen. He complained about 2 bad sets of tyres. Could the tyres have that much of an impact ? 

  • Kimi Raikkonen did well to finish in 4th given the expected lack of pace while David Coulthard was unfortunate to retire with a mechanical problem as he managed to stay with Kimi this time.

  • Marc Gene managed to finish in 5th despite not having raced in F1 for over 2 years and having only been told that he was replacing Ralf on the Saturday morning.

  • Jacques Villeneuve may have helped his chances of securing a drive for next year by finishing 6th. Now he needs another good result at Indy. 

  • Mark Webber continues to score points against all odds and his team-mate seems to get all the gremlins, be it Pizzonia or Wilson!

  • Renault had a bad weekend, where Trulli only raced for half a lap or so and Alonso had to start last due to a traction control problem in qualifying. Alonso still somehow managed to score a point by not giving up, as he managed to get past Nick Heidfeld on the last lap. 

  • Toyota had a bad race too with 2 retirements on a track that seemed to suit them. Now they have the very difficult task of catching BAR and Jaguar in their fight for 5th in the Championship.

  • With Michael and Ferrari winning here, what do you think the outcome will be for the season in both Championships ?

Your thoughts ? Of course you can comment on other aspects of the race - Have Your Say (What others are saying)

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What others are saying:

Ok, the race was brilliant! It kept me on my toes the whole way through. Well done Michael!! 
But I would like to say something else that has nothing to do with this race.... Yes Michael Schumacher is, in my opinion, one of the best F1 drivers of all times and is soon to be THE best, but he is also a great person outside of F1. He has a heart in him that very few people in this world can match. We often forget to praise him for this. 
I love Michael for him himself and for his outstanding talent. I thank God everyday for people like him. God bless. Best of luck for the future Schumi. Do what you do best and what you love to do.... Jay W - South Africa

I was somewhat disappointed -- but that was to be expected what with the tire fiasco and all; this was a very stupid thing to do near the end of the season (but that topic's been beaten to death already). 
It's nice to see at least one other team keep Ferrari on its toes. I wonder what would've happened if Ralf had raced? I kinda missed the BMW team. Oh, is it me or does it seem like the last two races the BMW launch control's not been what it could have? 
I think the scoring system is interesting (unlike most people, it seems). It really rewards consistency, although this season's been surprising enough that it would've probably worked just fine without it. 
Ultimately, I think I'm tired of seeing Michael win. Every time I hear or read that "Ferrari's back" or some other inane little catchphrase I wanna kill somebody. Don't get me wrong, I think he's one of the best drivers out there (luck notwithstanding), but F1 with Michael in the lead is about as exiting as watching paint dry -- "Gee, Bob, ya think it's gonna take a little longer today? I'm bettin' on an extra 5 minutes 'till it's safe to touch." {snore} - Fabricio C - USA

It was a good race; no one was hurt, tho' some were embarrassed (no names; you know them already). The opening effort by JPM and Michael's response to him summed up the whole season for me: obviously both cars were as nearly identical in set up and power as cars from two different teams could be (the qualifying showed that). So that leaves the drivers. JPM loves to pressure people into making mistakes and Michael loves to be challenged. But Michael doesn't make mistakes under pressure; he just finds more speed. What that means is that had the same situation come up and M.S. were in the pressuring role, JPM would probably have over-reached and either taken his car (or Michael's, or both!) out of contention. Look at the video: Michael's line gets stronger as they pass through the two bends together; the stuttering is all on the blue and white car. This is just to point out that there's a reason for the five titles and it isn't that back markers love him, no matter what JPM says. Don't get me wrong; I love watching Montoya; I cheered him on when he won at the Indy 500. I just wish someone would teach him to keep his mouth shut after the race. Excuses and conspiracy theories are for losers, not champions. I wonder what he'll say when Kimi and Fernando start pushing him? Tho' it's not likely to happen, because of his recent whining, JPM deserves to be whipped at Indy by Ralph! But don't worry. Look for team orders from Sir Frank to prevent a repeat of the 2 Williams taking each other out at turn one of this year's Indianapolis G.P.! 
I'm picking Michael to win again; I'm assuming JPM will keep the car together and come in second, keeping his hopes alive till Japan. But what I hope happens is something like Kimi, Fernando and Rubens on the podium: what chaos! What excitement!! Whatever --it has been a GREAT season - Jim W - USA

A good, not great race weekend. I was not so surprised that Michael got the pole, but just barely. You could see the stress he was under as he celebrated a pole position! You have to wonder about that. After all Michael is not Alonso! He has been there before. Most importantly Juan lost his best chance to get the championship by coming in second. 
The new points system makes it extremely difficult to play catchup. With only two races left I'm afraid my man Formula Juan will have to wait another year as Michael tees up title number 6. 
We can at least hope that Williams gets the constructors title. 
I was also rather pissed at the backmarkers holding Juan up though, as it looked like he could have again taken the fight to Michael. We have seen before that he will give up in the last part of the race if its not going his way. 
On the coverage: We lost sound for a portion of the race in the USA but I rather enjoyed the overall focus on Mikey and Juan - Dave W - USA

Ferrari win by bribing the rulemakers. Montoya should be fined by F1 and given a smack over the earhole by Frank Williams for not continuing to apply pressure to Michael through the 3rd stint. Montoya's confession (which he seems to think is entirely alright and perfectly normal) deserves to be rewarded by a loss of the Championship to Michael by 4 or less points! Incredible! - Byron F - Australia

Although it was not the most exciting race in a while it was gratifying to see Michael and Ferrari get back to where they are supposed to be. Actually, after the first lap there was almost nothing going on. 
I hope the last 2 races are not this boring, after some of the excitement we've been treated to this season. The championship is still in doubt, so I hope JPM and Kimi step up and put up a good fight. 
It looked like JPM just gave up and settled for second, Rubens seemed only concerned with staying in front of Kimi and Kimi could not seem to challenge Rubens. The mid-pack did their normal shuffling, but no exciting battles. 
I don't know if tires can make that big a difference, but Michael and Rubens sure seemed to be driving entirely different cars - Jeff S - USA

It was a shame. I've been waiting for so long for this race and it was... boring! 
Yeah, I do think different sets of tyres can dramatically change the performance. Specially if the pressure isn't right. 
Jaguar's 2nd crew is a joke. I've said that before and I believe that even Kimi or JPM or whoelse you may name would lose a second to Webber. 
About JPM giving up, the backmarkers are to be blamed. Nevertheless the performances were so close that passing would only occur in case of a driver's mistake. 
Let's wait for Indy. It will be JPM's last chance, but it'll be tough: Ferrari is back! - Andre B - Brazil

I am not surprised by the Ferrari victory. I don't think anything less would have been permitted in Monza ! And it's hard to say how all the tire wars effected the race. Especially concerning Barrichello. I think sometimes that tires are the easiest thing to point out. The thing I think you have to keep in mind are the curbs. When you continually bang away at those curbs at 120 MPH, it's very likely that the suspension gets tweaked, and the handling goes away. 
I think Juan did the smart thing and didn't push any more than he did. He said he didn't think he had enough to catch and pass Michael, and he never says that. And his and Michaels brakes were gone at that point, so it wouldn't be wise to push too much at that point. 
Kimi did all he could, and David broke. I'm happy for Villeneuve. Monza is a race that if you can hold the car together, and battle, you can get a good result. Much like Eddie Irvine here did last year. 
I feel bad for the Toyota's. They had a good car for Monza, like you say, except they always have trouble with big curbs. Which is what I suspect happened to Panis' car. Something just broke. And a flat tire for da Matta. It's a shame, because I was waiting to see how their strategies played out. Cristiano obviously opted for the lower down force, hence the higher top speed. Where-as Panis, having raced there many times, knows that a little more down force will save the brakes. Renault had some hard luck too. But give credit to Alonso for hanging in there. His car was so wrecked, I'm surprised it didn't just fall apart around him ! 
Indianapolis should be fun - John - USA

First of all I think Michael has won because of the track which suits Ferrari the most. He did no miracle to win. For Juan Pablo he couldn't do anything when he got stuck behind Saubers who got ahead of Schummi in the start finish straight in order to give him some extra kilometres in the top speed while they "captured" Juan and it was a dirty thing to do.
For Rubens he was completely right. His first set was great and we saw him nearly overtaking Montoya. You have to ask Bridgestone who said they had improved but it didn't look like that to me. Rubens is one of the greatest drivers and he won't stop pushing unless his car wasn't responding to his potential.
McLaren couldn't do more than that and I'm really happy for Kimi to gain some points. I think he has a good chance in Indianapolis.
Marc Gene did a great job although he spent the last two years testing for Williams in Monza and Barcelona.
Good job for Mark Webber and Jacques Villeneuve while I didn't figure out how did Alonso came in 8th. Frentzen seemed to be 7th all the time then he dropped off. Does any body know what happened? (Frentzen retired on his 50th lap with what appears to be a transmission problem and that elevated Webber and Heidfeld to 7th and 8th but Alonso managed to catch Heidfeld off guard on the final lap when Heidfeld was lapped by Marc Gene! ... Ed.)
I didn't know what happened to Toyota. 
For the outcome I really think that Kimi is gonna do it in Indy and then he will refresh his chances in the championship. if he doesn't let's hope is gonna be Juan - Al - Syria

Very tense race for the 1st 4 runners. JPM looked to match Shuey practically the whole race, but you'll notice how hard he tried to get in front of MS at the start. 
The Ferrari of MS was consistent on the 1st and 3rd stints but fell away on the 2nd stint. Was this tires or MS saving the car and doing enough to keep JPM just behind him? 
Also, I feel that the Williams was actually not strong enough on the 3rd stint for JPM to catch MS and the Williams may actually be weak for that 3rd stint the rest of the year. Last few races he was in front with no pressure, but at Monza the Williams didn't have it towards the end to catch the Ferrari. If he could have, you can bet your front teeth he would have. JPM does not give up. This was a classic MS/Ferrari victory - Armand D - USA

My, my, Ferrari are never more dangerous than when they are down, after all the boy has five titles already maybe six ? 
A slightly boring race passing wise but boy they where on it Hey I s'pose she's going down to the wire after this one. My boy JPM may not have won today but he's still in there. I know I've been a tifosi until this year, I think we need a change is why I follow JPM now, I also like his style. 
I reckon Williams at Indy and Ferrari at Suzuka, but who for the title or constructors... I'd say I don't have a clue yet. I feel all warm and fuzzy thinking chop for his sixth title which would erase all doubt as to who is the greatest of all time, but a regime change wouldn't hurt the sport, maybe Kimi ? - Cookie - Australia

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