• French Grand Prix 2006

Schumacher leads Ferrari's French charge

David Addison
July 16, 2006
Ferrari celebrate a succesful day's racing © Sutton Images

Michael Schumacher's win at Magny-Cours put him back in contention for the championship as he outscored title rival Fernando Alonso who finished 10 seconds behind him.

Schumacher had taken pole position with team-mate Felipe Massa second, a handy rear-gunner for the German. Schumacher led to the first corner and was never challenged, but Alonso instantly fought Massa for second. The Brazilian blocked the Renault and Alonso had to sit behind him until Renault's strategy paid dividends at the first pit stops and Alonso moved ahead. It elected to change from a three-stopper to a two which enabled Alonso to move up a place.

"We expected that the tyres would have better pace," Alonso said. "And we lost maybe four or five seconds in the first stint. Whether that was enough to win the race, I don't know."

Schumacher was in crushing form, with Alonso and Massa rounding out the podium, while Ralf Schumacher took fourth place for Toyota, again hinting at the potential of the well-funded but under-performing team.

His older brother, though, was now just 17 points behind Alonso in the race for the crown.