• San Marino Grand Prix 2006

Schumacher wins tactical battle at Imola

David Addison
April 23, 2006
Michael Schumacher celebrates his first win of the season © Sutton Images

A record 65th pole position for Michael Schumacher preceded his 85th Grand Prix win in a race that showed his skill and the tactical genius on the Ferrari pit wall.

In a car that was never as fast as the Renault of Fernando Alonso, Schumacher looked after his tyres better than the Spaniard and ran at a slower pace, elongating his tyre wear and lulling Renault into a false sense of security. When Schumacher needed to push, his tyres were able to support him.

In the laps leading up to his first pit stop, the German upped his pace markedly and with it negated much of Alonso's hard work. After the second pit stops, Schumacher led Alonso and only needed to keep the Renault at bay. This he did, but it wasn't easy. Alonso hounded him in the final laps, but he ran wide three laps from home and rode a kerb that gave Schumacher a two-second cushion at the end.

"It was great," said Schumacher. "Everyone pushed really hard this weekend and Ferrari had an amazing weekend. We did a lot of work over the weekend and it paid off."

Alonso took second and maintained his championship lead while Jenson Button suffered more misfortune for Honda. He was released too early from a refuelling pit stop with the nozzle still attached and when he rejoined he was a distant seventh.