First win of the season for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro. This is the Scuderia's eighth San Marino Grand Prix victory,
the 184th from 727 Grand Prix starts. Michael Schumacher took his eighty fifth career win, the seventh at Imola.
Michael Schumacher scored a thrilling and popular narrow 2.096s win over Fernando Alonso in Sunday's San
Marino Grand Prix at Imola, reversing roles with the Renault driver in comparison to last year as he led the
Spaniard for over a third of the race by fractions of a second. Ferrari's first win since Indianapolis last year moves
Michael up to second in the Drivers' championship, while teammate Felipe Massa finished a strong fourth behind
Juan Pablo Montoya to give Ferrari 30 points in the World Championship to Renault's 51 and McLaren's 33.
Ferrari's mechanics cleaned oil and cement dust from an earlier accident off Michael Schumacher's grid position
and it allowed him to shoot straight into the lead at the start of the sunny 62 lap race. Front row grid neighbour
Jenson Button slotted into second in the Honda with Massa going third from Alonso as Rubens Barrichello
slumped to fifth. Ralf Schumacher stayed sixth, Montoya remained in seventh from Jarno Trulli, Mark Webber and
Kimi Raikkonen who lost two places to tenth.
Michael eased away from Button during the opening laps after an early safety car period. He had a 2.1s lead after
seven laps and three seconds after 12 laps. Similarly, Massa dropped away from Button as Alonso initially did from
Massa, closing up again during the final stages before the first pit stops. Trulli was an early retirement in the pits.
Barrichello was the first to make a slow pit stop on lap 14, and teammate Button confirmed Honda's tactics with a
stop a lap later. Massa came in from what was now second place on lap 19, having been just ahead of Alonso,
while Michael pitted a lap later. Raikkonen came in on lap 22, Montoya pitted with Webber on lap 23 and Alonso
finally came in on lap 25.
After the pit stops, Michael had an 11 second lead over Alonso who had leapfrogged both Button and Massa during
the pit stops. Button was now in third place, Massa fourth being pushed by Montoya, while Webber was next.
Michael, however, suffered tyre graining during this stint, and his lead rapidly disappeared, so that Alonso was on
his tail by lap 34. However, there he remained, for lap after lap, scarcely getting a look around the Ferrari, even
though he was obviously quicker. Button made a second, disastrous stop on lap 30 when he was signalled out of
the pits before the fuel hose had been disconnected. Three mechanics were bowled over before Button stopped for
what was left of the hose and nozzle to be removed, before rejoining having lost a further 13 seconds.
At half distance, Michael was just ahead of Alonso, Massa was just ahead of Montoya who was fourth, Webber was
next from Raikkonen and after Ralf Schumacher pitted, Button was next.
Alonso came in early for his final stop on lap 41, but Michael came in a lap later and when they emerged, they
resumed their nose to tail battle. Massa also came in on lap 41 while Montoya stayed out until lap 44 and when he
rejoined, he was just ahead of the second Ferrari. Raikkonen pitted on lap 47 and rejoined just behind Massa.
In the closing stages, there were three battles: Michael Schumacher just leading Alonso for the lead; Massa just
ahead of Raikkonen for fourth place and Button just ahead of Fisichella battling over seventh place. But such is the
difficulty of overtaking at Imola that there was no change in the order. Indeed, Alonso hit a kerb three laps from
home and ran wide, losing two seconds to Michael which resolved the lead battle in Schumacher's favour, much to
the tifosi's delight.
Alonso therefore finished second with Montoya in third place. Massa was close behind in fourth place, just ahead
of Raikkonen in fifth. Webber had a lonely race to sixth, from Button and Fisichella who claimed the final points.
Jean Todt: "When I was going up to the podium, I said to Michael that I could not remember the way anymore, as it
had been such a long time since the last victory! This result comes courtesy of all the hard work over the past few
weeks carried out by the team and our partners, first and foremost Bridgestone and Shell and it was made all the
better coming in front of so many of our fans and employees who filled their own grandstand here. Michael secured
a fantastic win, rounded off with a good fourth place from Felipe. We had expected it to be cooler and the heat saw
us suffer a bit, which shows how just the smallest variation in temperature can affect the pecking order. It's and odd
thing to say, but in Australia we wanted it hotter and it was cool and here we have the opposite! This result is very
encouraging for the future and is a great boost. There are fourteen races still to fight for and we know that if all the
parts of the jigsaw puzzle are in place, then we can look for the wins in order to meet our targets."
Michael Schumacher: "I am very happy! The result shows that work pays off and that the effort put in by everyone -
the team and our partners - has delivered its reward. The key moment was staying ahead after the second pit stop.
As we saw last year, overtaking at this track it's almost impossible, unless the guy in front makes a mistake. With
all my years of experience, I knew that what I wanted to do was keep Alonso behind me, but at my pace, not
pushing flat out and that's what I did. At this time I had a bit of graining, as had been the case in free practice and
now we must work out what caused it. I hope we can keep up this standard in the coming races and I think that
from now on, we will be very competitive."
Felipe Massa: "It was a very difficult race, but it turned out well for Ferrari in the end. Michael's win and my fourth
place make a very nice result. I would have liked to have been on the podium, but I am still pleased with this as it
was important to bring so many points home. I had some problems in my second stint, but in the third one I could
push as hard as I wanted again."
Ross Brawn: " Naturally, we are very happy with this result. Winning in front of our fans is something very special. It
was a very tough race and the team did a great job in Michael's final pit stop, which got him back out on track ahead
of Alonso. We struggled a bit in the second part of the race, probably because of the tyres, and we could not
maintain the pace we had in the first stint. In these laps, Michael drove perfectly, managing to keep Alonso behind
him. Felipe drove a strong race. He had some difficult moments but he proved capable of getting out of them in fine
form, driving very well. A fantastic result down to great work from the team, from Bridgestone and from Shell. It is the
first "real" win for a car designed by Aldo Costa, which is particularly pleasing. Let's hope this is a good omen for
the rest of the season."