• US Grand Prix 2006

Schumacher maintains title chase with US victory

David Addison
July 2, 2006
Michael Schumacher and Ferrari were able to prevent a fifth straight Renault win © Sutton Images

Ferrari struck back after four straight Renault victories as Michael Schumacher took his 87th career win at Indianapolis. In contrast, championship rival Fernando Alonso struggled for grip all weekend, and could only manage fifth.

Felipe Massa's Ferrari led from the start but a first-corner tangle accounted for Nick Heidfeld, who rolled his BMW-Sauber. In a separate collision the two McLarens of Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya appeared to drive into each other. It was Montoya's last race in F1....

A safety car was needed and on its return to Gasoline Alley, Massa headed Schumacher and Alonso. Schumacher moved ahead of Massa on the first pit stops and remained ahead. Alonso was on the defensive as his slower, grip-less Renault was caught by team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella and fell behind him into the clutches of Rubens Barrichello's Honda and Ralf Schumacher's Toyota. The Renaults traded places on the pit stops but Fisichella took third from Jarno Trulli, who had started from the pit lane in his Toyota, and then Alonso.

"Fifth was the maximum I could do today," Alonso said. "I was lacking grip all weekend so I just made sure I could score points."

In contrast, Schumacher was bullish. "We performed well all weekend," he said. "We prepared hard for this race and we knew we had a good car. This is another step towards the championship."