• European Grand Prix 2009

Schumacher thrills home crowd with European victory

David Addison
May 7, 2006
Michael Schumacher and Felipe Massa celebrate a Ferrari revival © Sutton Images

Michael Schumacher continued his and Ferrari's resurgence by taking his second win of the season at the European Grand Prix, a popular result as it took place on Schumacher's home circuit of the Nurburgring.

The German had been out-qualified by Fernando Alonso but asserted himself at the final round of pit stops. Alonso led from pole, chased by Schumacher, Felipe Massa and Jenson Button. Under huge pressure from Schumacher, Alonso kept his composure to retain the lead while Button was out on lap 29 with engine failure.

Alonso retained the lead after the first refuelling stops but produced a slow in-lap second time around. With Schumacher's in-lap being almost three seconds faster than Alonso's equivalent lap, he was able to convert a 7.7 second deficit into a lead of over one second.

"The car, the engine and tyres were all perfect today," said Schumacher. "I made a small mistake on my in-lap for the first pit stop but we knew from the start that I had the race pace."

Alonso was frustrated to be second ahead of Massa, with Kimi Raikkonen fourth. McLaren had gone for a conservative tyre choice for the opening stint and Raikkonen was on a compound of Michelin that was too hard to allow him to run with the leaders.