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Rubens Barrichello wins the Japanese Grand Prix from Kimi Raikkonen securing Ferrari's 5th consecutive Constructors Championship and helping Michael Schumacher win a record 6th Drivers' Title. 
Congratulations to Ferrari and their 2 drivers on this great achievement.

The race itself whilst exciting could have been more so had Juan Pablo Montoya and Fernando Alonso not retired from the race. Still there was a lot of action at the start and with a few top drivers having to slice their way up the field.

A few of the highlights:

  • Ferrari won the Constructors' Title after another poor showing from Williams. The words of BMW's Motorsport Director Mario Theissen sums it up: "After a weak start to the season we had the Constructor’s Championship within reach but in the last few races we have to acknowledge that our team is still not quite strong enough."

  • Rubens Barrichello drove an impressive race and won the race. Lets hope next season he can perform like he did at Suzuka and Silverstone all year.

  • Kimi Raikkonen finished second but wasn't on the pace and needed Barrichello to have a problem for him to win. Still finishing only 2 points behind Michael Schumacher in the Championship is an amazing achievement given that he only won once this season and retired 3 times. Perhaps it is an amazing points system! 

  • David Coulthard once again was more of a support driver to his team-mate.

  • Jenson Button and Takuma Sato finishing 4th and 6th driving BAR cars! Is this a sign of real progress or just luck!

  • Jarno Trulli starting from 19th was up with Michael Schumacher in a few laps and finished the race in 5th. The same can't be said of Ralf Schumacher

  • Cristiano da Matta got the better of Olivier Panis in the Toyota and scored 2 points despite him not being familiar with this difficult track. Next year he could surprise a few.  

  • Michael Schumacher won a record 6th title which is an amazing record and one which may never be broken. His performance in the race wasn't that great though, his clash with Sato nearly put him out of the race and his fight with da Matta and his brother wasn't what you'd expect from Michael. Racing to score a point isn't something we know Michael doing!

  • Ralf Schumacher impressed many when he came back from the back to finish 4th in Hungary. I doubt that he impressed many with his performance at Suzuka.

  • Juan Pablo Montoya was on a mission, sadly though his car failed a few laps into the race robbing us of a potential great fight between himself, Barrichello and Alonso

  • Fernando Alonso was right behind Rubens Barrichello when his car failed him. It is already an amazing achievement for him to finish in 6th place in the Drivers' Title in his second year in Formula 1 but he could have been even higher if his car didn't fail him on numerous occasions this year. He'll be a force to reckon with next year!

  • Jacques Villeneuve may have driven his last race in Formula 1 at the US Grand Prix. Whether he jumped or was pushed, it wasn't right for him not to race in Japan and it is sad to see a former World Champion leave the scene under such circumstances. 

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

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What others are saying:

Well, well, well... so once again Ferrari nailed it and so did Schumacher. I feel divided when I analyse Michael's phenomenal career. I can't deny that he is very very good. He is one of the best drivers ever. But we cannot ignore that he is very very lucky. 
First of all he never faced internal opposition as Senna and Piquet did. Ferrari works for him and I'm sure that whoever drives the #2 will be kept in his shadows: first because he is very talented, second because all sort of weird events will happen to car #2. 
I still couldn't swallow the lack of fuel Barrichello suffered in Brazil, when both were tied on the championship (8 pts each) and MS was out of the race. If you take a good look on the last 4 seasons and compare the number of failures in Michael's car and in Rubens' one will be astonished. Nevertheless I'm not saying that Rubens is better than Michael. I'm sure that Rubens is better than the majority of the F1 drivers, including the over estimated IMHO Webber and Alonso.
If Ferrari would allow a little bit more of competition, MS merits would be bigger. I would love to turn my TV on to watch the Australian GP and find Michael and Trulli driving to Ferrari, Barrichello and Villeneuve driving to Williams, Raikkonen and Montoya driving to McLaren and Alonso/Button driving to Renault. 
C U in 2004 when I expect to do better than 7th in 8 'n' Pole - Andre B - Brazil

Congratulations to Michael Schumacher. I am watching F1 only for last 7 years and I am really a fan on Schumacher. I used to browse this site and I used to read all the comments from different readers for last 3 years. Some time I agree and some time not. But in recent comments to me when we say A. Senna was having more competition and MS not, I will like to comment the following:
1. By telling that there is no competition to MS, we say that the other drivers like Montoya, Raikkonen, Alonso etc. are not good enough but it doesn't proof MS is not a great driver
2. If MS is not as good as he is presently, then there may be stiff competition, then we all may be saying he is a great. This means you should be just a little better than the remaining drivers to proof yourself a great driver. Being a too good than remaining drivers means nothing for a lot of people.
3 Some of us say MS was having best car since 97 ... then how Ferrari was without a driver championship for so many years (more than 20 years) and why other drivers have not joined Ferrari (if it was best car in 97 ..) and grab the opportunity - Hardeep - Thailand

Unfortunately I am left with a bitter taste at the end of this season, utterly convinced that Ferrari has been very generous with it's seemingly unlimited budget in the direction of officials and stewards. It starts with Ferrari whining about the legitimacy of the Michelin tyres - Advantage Ferrari. Then the racing incident that Montoya gets penalized for at the US GP - Advantage Ferrari. Schuey makes two boneheaded moves at Suzuka - not even the hint of a penalty - Advantage Ferrari! Who da guessed? Congratulations to Ferrari for money well spent on owning a few well timed grey areas. Too good. The ruling on the tyres was a disgrace. Either the Michelins have been legal all year or they haven't. If not, all Michelin clad cars get a penalty. A mid season change in the interpretation of a rule to favour one team is the most incredible thing I've ever seen. But aren't our esteemed F1 officials clever though. With as many grey areas as possible they can make a killing by ruling in favour of the highest bidding bribe! To me, this entire championship is meaningless. 
On a brighter note, the performances of Raikkonen, Alonso, Webber, Button and Da Matta were inspiring. Ralf and Montoya had both kinds of moments, good and bad, and seem to be pretty good drivers in great cars. Montoya gave up at Monza and although the victim of a "tough" call at the US, a good driver doesn't get into that situation in the first place. Ralf's boneheadedness at Hockenheim, lapse at Monaco and practice crash overshadow the good bits for him. Schuey/Ferrari probably deserved to win the Championship just on the Canada performance on it's own! Superb. F1 has a great field of teams and drivers. Now it just needs to have the cleaners put through the administration - Byron F - Australia

Yeah it was really impressive watching today's best, most experienced and most successful driver hitting Sato and almost da Matta in the most important race of the year. Having probably the smallest task possible, he managed to drive as a bad rookie and make stupid mistakes. Still he has been lucky enough this year as always. He really is great I recognise that but please records don't always tell the truth so don't compare him with the real great ones such as Senna, Clark or Fangio. They never did the mistakes he has, it's just that he never faced the competition they did - George - Greece

Mathew T from Australia writes:
What is George from Greece talking about!. He obviously hasn't been watching formula 1 for very long because he conveniently forgets that when Senna was killed Schumacher had just taken him to the cleaners in the first 2 races and was about to do it in the third IMOLA 94. Tragically Senna was killed and we never got to see probably the greatest rivalry in F1 history. He then proceeded to go on and take care of Damon Hill, Mika Hakkinen, David Coulthard, every single team-mate he has ever had and anyone else you care to mention. He has now broken every record there is to break except for pole positions and Monaco victories and he will achieve both of them as well. He has taken on the best and beaten them as the above shows. The only reason this year was close is that the FIA have basically cheated and changed the rules to try and beat him. He scored 6 wins to the next best which was 2 and 5 pole positions and he would consider this to be a bad year personally for him. If George from Greece had bothered to follow qualifying he would realise that the only reason that Michael was in the midfield was because it rained during qualifying when he went for his run and was dry for the majority of others. Michael is the greatest driver motor sport has seen in the modern era and the reason I say that is because he has been able to combine the best abilities of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost all in the 1 package. He has the speed, the ability in the wet, the qualifying record, the ability to get the best out of less than ideal handling cars which were the hallmarks of Senna's greatness and he has the race tactical nouse and the ability to make very few mistakes and play the percentages that were the hallmarks of Prost's greatness. This package makes him the ultimate formula 1 driver and if George wants to talk about mistakes how many has Michael made in the last 13 years of driving, you could probably count them on 1 hand and unbelievably he has achieved his current record without the number 1 car with the exception of 2001 and 2002. 
(This post was edited)

The debate continues here

Well, we have to give Schumacher much credit. It wasn't pretty, by his own admission, but he got it done just the same. One thing is certain, he got re-acquainted with the mid-field. 
Cristiano da Matta wasn't about to give up his position to him. And it was understandable because Toyota's goal was 5th in the constructors race, and were still in position to pick up more points. 
Congratulations to Barrichello for his victory as well. Williams just fell off the map. Montoya was off to such a good start! It was almost as if he was driving with vindication, and over did it with his engine. And too bad for Ralph, as it seemed like his style and that car were perfect for that track. But because of Qualifying, it was not to be. 
I kept waiting for Takuma Sato to crash, but it never happened. It seems so ironic that for 5 years, BAR can't put a car on the track that is both competitive, and reliable. But the day they decide to replace Villeneuve, it all comes together. So sad. Maybe it's true that they should have divorced 3 years ago, and both parties would be in better shape today. 
I just wish that Toyota hadn't re-signed Panis so soon, because I would rather see Jacques in that seat. See ya next year - John - USA

The F1 community's attempts to thwart one team and one man fails again! 
In spite of the rule changes, Schumi and Ferrari win! The rest of the gang - don't keep complaining - try improving your reliability and drivers instead 
Congrats Michael and all those at Ferrari. It has been a commendable achievement and advance wishes to Michael for the 7th World Championships and to Ferrari for the next constructors Championship- Natraj - India

Congratulations to Michael Schumacher on the greatest achievement in the history of Formula 1! It was a well-deserved victory for him after having a tough season, loss of his mother, and finally coming back to where they needed to be. Some say that his performance in Suzuka and overall this season wasn't impressive... 
Well, thanks to FIA for changing all the rules around and making them everything BUT fair just to slow down ONE man! Despite all odds and new regulations, he is still a winner! 
Very impressive performance by Rubens! He saved the day for Ferrari and their highest respect! - Julia - USA

It is absolutely (shocking) that a rain shower during qualifying could have changed the outcome of the world championship. After that demonstration, it is truly time to change the system. The old one was much better - Ed F - USA

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