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Michael Schumacher has nearly clinched his 6th World Title after a superb performance at the Indianapolis speedway and following a poor performance by his main rival Juan Pablo Montoya. Kimi Raikkonen faired better finishing second and keeping a very slim chance for him at the last race of the season.
Of course the weather played a major role in the outcome but that is to be expected in Formula 1. 

A few of the highlights:

  • Whilst the weather helped the Bridgestone runners it was clear that Ferrari and Michael Schumacher adapted much better to the situation than Williams and Juan Pablo Montoya.

  • Several factors worked against Juan Pablo Montoya including the stop-go penalty and the refuelling problem at the first pit stop. The team also took a big gamble putting full wets on when the rest were on intermediates. 
    Was the stop-go penalty fair ? Should Montoya have waited for a better opportunity ?

  • A number of drivers spun off in the wet notably Olivier Panis, Ralf Schumacher and Mark Webber whose teams needed crucial points in their Championship fight. Knowing the conditions and knowing what at stake, should they have been more conservative ?

  • Kimi Raikkonen once again proved that he can handle pressure much better than most and fought back to finish in second place and keep his chances alive.

  • Heinz Harald Frentzen and Nick Heidfeld got it right this time and helped the Sauber team jump into 5th place in the Constructors Championship. Something no one thought possible before the race!

  • The 2 Renaults looked strong all weekend and Trulli managed to finish the second best Michelin runner in 4th. Alonso unfortunately suffered a blown engine.  

  • Toyota and BAR ended up without points when at different stages of the race they were looking good for big points. Lack of experience and driver error caused Toyota's problems and yet again BAR proved to be one of the most unreliable cars in the field.

  • So driver wise it looks as if Michael has pretty much won it but the Constructors title is still up for grabs between Ferrari and Williams while 5th place is even tighter with Sauber a point ahead of both BAR and Jaguar. Suzuka will still be interesting!

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:

Race in Indy was spectacular. Who would've expected MS to dominate but wait did he or did he just make the fewest mistakes. It is easy to understand why he is so dominant. I know full heartedly that he was truly only racing 4-5 other drivers everyone else particularly the backmarkers were merely making laps to fill the field. 
For Formula One racing to become popular in the States , the buy a ride program needs to stop if truly talented drivers were in the lesser teams, technical development would be much better because the drivers would be more adapt at making improvements to their package, rather than making laps merely to get seat time. 
Formula One needs to add 5-6 teams and actually make qualifying a true race before the race for there would be more than 24 cars to present to the grid. This would also make it more feasible to award a wider range of points and thus provide fans with a opportunity to root for teams in the back to move and score points - Wade - UK

I think the race was great. Very unpredictable. I think Michael drove a brilliant race. Too bad for Rubens, But JPM got what he deserved. I don't think he should be allowed on the race track unless he cleans up his act. He's a cowboy and does not drive a fair race (way too wreckless). Kimi did well too. But congrats to Michael, I knew he could do it and I'm sure he'll take the crown in Japan. Good Luck Michael - Jay W - South Africa

This was a great race! 
All the chips were down and the title was there for the taking. Those who complain that there's not enough over-taking in F1 had their answer plain in this race. I was sitting just above turn one (off the long straight) and we could see the clouds massing before the race began. I knew it would be exciting because Michael is so good in the rain --but he wasn't alone. Button was brilliant and so was Kimi --but Nick and Heinz Harald were also great. 
JPM had many, many fans in the stands, but they didn't have much to cheer about. The ramming of Rubens caused a great moan in the crowd --we all could see that it was stupid and were all disappointed for defending champion Rubens. I guess, though, that someone spoke to Montoya about shooting off his mouth because he actually RAN away from the press after the race! (There was a story about it in the local paper; apparently he even ran so fast the woman accompanying him [his wife? publicist? they didn't say] had to sprint to keep up and almost didn't get into the car with him! He's a character, alright. Before the race, Montoya did give an interview. In it he explained that the reason Michael won the title last year was because his tyres were so good. This year, he continued, our tires are better and Michael's history. 
Michael, by contrast, admitted that the Bridgestone "wets" were, as he put it, a "joker" they finally got to play in this race. But to suggest that the driver is an appendage of the tyres is pretty funny. Nobody's paying millions of dollars for their tyres, for all the tyre war. 
On to Suzuka, where Michael would be wise to qualify seventh or eighth again --so JPM won't have a chance to bulldoze him off the track! Then he can just motor around the track and root for Ralph, Rubens & Kimi - Jim W - USA

So much was said about the changes for the 2003 season, some comments were unkind. However, the season has been exciting with the championship (driver and maker) to be decided at the very last race. Even the wacky qualifying session preceding the other qualifying session has added a bit more randomness to the game making it more interesting - Jamie - Baldovinos

Surely one of the most unpredictable races we've seen in a long time. 
Raikkonen's performance in the post race interviews was so robotic I half expected Mika Hakkinen to be discovered somewhere in the background operating the remote controls! 
Seriously, Schumacher has the drivers title all but in the bag, but the constructors battle is still very open. I hope that Montoya does not give up now he is out of the drivers title and does his best to secure the constructors crown for Williams - Martin - UK

Hmmm, Montoya is penalised for contact with a Ferrari, but it's O.K. for Schumacher to overtake under a yellow flag? That seems fair........... 
I expect there's a perfectly logical explanation. There always seems to be when Ferrari is involved. I suppose those blistered Bridgestones disappearing quickly into the back of Ferrari's pit area were fine too. No controversy there.. No need to make a fuss.... Tom H - USA

"Beware of your wishes" JPM. Some time ago he states "Always I'm going to take on Michael because he has something to lose (championship) and I DO NOT". With his style seems like everybody must pull over when he's on the track. He's a street driver not a racer and he pushed his luck again against Barrichello this time, luckily the race officials finally decided to investigate the incident. Unfortunately Rubens was out (less points for Ferrari). 
By the way did Mantoya pass someone under local Yellow Flag ? Perhaps I was dreaming (I have to check the video and/or to play with my computer to be sure I'm WRONG!!!!)
Michael likes to drive in rain, so did Kimi and even David. But Mantoya??. To adapt in rain? Please do not compare JPM not even with Jenson. Too bad for Button he still needs a good car. Maybe he is going to replace JPM when he'll go to McLaren. 
Regarding people who spun I think it is Michelin part of the problem because Michael was pushing 2 seconds per lap and the other Bridgestone drivers were aprox. 1 second over the Michelin cars.(Do not count Kimi). Kimi did very good so did the Saubers.
Too bad for Renault they continue to improve. The others except Button were OK. 
My best regards. Marian - Romanian living in the USA

WOW, I don't know where to start. 
A little change in the weather and it just changed the entire complexion of the race. And it just showed that the teams with the experience, knew best what to do. And they responded correctly. Although Ferrari almost made a mistake, when they came in on their first stop, and went with dry tires, only to turn right around and switch to wets. But Schumacher was great. He ran on each set of tires longer than anyone else would dare. Kimi was great too. But Juan Pablo was a mess. And I didn't see enough of the incident to know whether he deserved the drive through. 
I was disappointed with Toyota again. But like I said, the team's inexperience. I think Panis had 5 pit stops before he crashed. Pick a set of tires and go with them ! 
On another subject. I don't mean to add to the silly season, but did anyone else notice that the McLaren cars didn't have the drivers names on the side? That's the first time I ever saw them do that, and it just made me wonder what was going on with that. 
See ya in Japan - John N - USA

One last impressive performance by HHF - does anyone actually think Massa is an improvement over Frentzen (or Heidfeld)? It's a shame Sauber (and Bridgestone) didn't provide him with as good a car as their recent seasons for his last one. 
Still, a class act that will be missed - Tony K - USA

It's a shame that JPM blew his chances on the 3rd lap. An Indy 500 winner should know better that consistency is what really matters. 
MS knew exactly when to back off and when to attack and that among other qualities makes him the man. 
Considering the weather prediction I put my odds on BAR (8 n'pole) instead of Sauber and I'm sure the Honda board must have been very upset to watch two engines blowing in front of their major market. Heads will roll... 
Ferrari is back, I told you - Andre B - Brazil

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