Perfect weekend for football fan Schumacher

Michael Schumacher made Hoosiers see red yet again yesterday. But where a year ago the red had been anger after he won the six-race farce that passed as a grand prix, this time it was merely the colour of his Ferrari as he sped to a crushing victory at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The triumph enabled him to claw back a chunk of the 25-point deficit to runaway championship leader Fernando Alonso, and for what it's worth, made the German the first five-time winner in Indianapolis history. Legends such as A J Foyt, Al Unser Snr and Rick Mears had been quadruple winners of the famed 500-mile race, while Jeff Gordon has won four Brickyard 400 NASCAR races here too. Schumacher won the inaugural grand prix here in 2000, gifted the race clumsily to his Ferrari team-mate Rubens Barrichello in a remarkable kerfuffle on the finish line in 2002, and took the 2003, 2004 and the farcical 2005 races too. He came to America a trifle breathless in Alonso's wake, but left only 19 points behind with another eight races to come.

"We definitely performed extremely well all weekend," Schumacher said. "We prepared ourselves very hard for the two overseas races and knew we had a good car. Having Felipe here alongside is a dream result. Another step towards the championship. Germany getting through to the semi-finals and me winning the race, you couldn't have a better result, really!"

When all of the runners actually came on to the starting grid, to the relief of all the fans after the 14 Michelin runners had pitted after the grid formation lap last year, they did not have to wait long for action. As the midfield raced four abreast into the first corner, something had to give. Exiting the corner the two McLaren drivers, Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya, BMW's Nick Heidfeld, Red Bull's Christian Klien and Scott Speed, Williams' Mark Webber and Super Aguri's Franck Montagny were all eliminated in two separate accidents. Montoya ran into the back of team-mate Raikkonen, then clobbered Jenson Button's Honda. That pushed the Englishman into contact with Heidfeld, who barrel-rolled spectacularly into a gravel bed.

In the ensuing mayhem, local hero and Toro Rosso driver Scott Speed, the first American to start a US Grand Prix since Eddie Cheever in Phoenix in 1989, was out. Jenson Button was also involved, but managed to get going again only to retire with car damage. Then 14 cars became 12 soon after when Takuma Sato took out himself and Tiago Monteiro.

While all this was unravelling the Ferraris of Felipe Massa, who outdragged team-mate Schumacher into the lead, were disappearing into the distance, leaving Alonso with his hands full of team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella, who blew by him into turn one on lap 15.

Massa's reign ended after the first pit stops as Schumacher assumed command from the young Brazilian on lap 31. Further back, Fisichella was unable to sustain Renault's challenge. It was clear all weekend that Bridgestone had the stronger tyre. The Renaults' lap times were not that far off the Ferraris', but Alonso was clearly struggling and could not even keep up with Fisichella even though he maintained his record of leading every 2006 race by moving ahead briefly during the first pit stops. Worse still for the Spaniard, he could not keep ahead of the Toyota of Jarno Trulli, trailing home only fifth.

Even though last year's controversy had fans walking out in their thousands before the race had even reached its midpoint, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway attracted a big following again this year, with 130,000 spectators yesterday. That bodes well for the renewal of the contract between Bernie Ecclestone's Formula One Management and the IMS owner, Tony George.

United States Grand Prix (Indianapolis): 1 M Schumacher (Ger) Ferrari 1hr 34min 35.199sec; 2 F Massa (Br) Ferrari +7.984sec; 3 G Fisichella (It) Renault +16.595; 4 J Trulli (It) Toyota +23.604; 5 F Alonso (Sp) Renault +28.410; 6 R Barrichello (Br) Honda +36.516; 7 D Coulthard (GB) Red Bull-Ferrari +1 lap; 8 V Liuzzi (It) Scuderia Toro Rosso-Cosworth +1 lap. Not classified: 9 N Rosberg (Ger) Williams-Cosworth (72nd lap); 10 R Schumacher (Ger) Toyota (62); 11 C Albers (Neth) Midland-Toyota (37); 12 J Villeneuve (Can) BMW-Sauber (23); 13 T Monteiro (Por) Midland-Toyota (9); 14 T Sato (Japan) Super Aguri-Honda (6); 15 J Button (GB) Honda (3); 16 K Raikkonen (Fin) McLaren-Mercedes (0; retired first lap); 17 N Heidfeld (Ger) BMW-Sauber (0); 18 J P Montoya (Col) McLaren-Mercedes (0); 19 M Webber (Aus) Williams-Cosworth (0); 20 S Speed (US) Scuderia Toro Rosso-Cosworth (0); 21 C Klien (Aut) Red Bull-Ferrari (0); 22 F Montagny (Fr) Super Aguri-Honda (0). Fastest lap: M Schumacher 1:12.719 (lap 56).Leading overall Championship standings: Drivers: 1 Alonso 88pts; 2 M Schumacher 69; 3 Fisichella 43; 4 Raikkonen 39; 5 Massa 36; 6 Montoya 26; 7= Button, Barrichello 16; 9 Heidfeld 12; 10 Coulthard 10; 11= R Schumacher, Trulli 8; 13 Villeneuve 7; 14 Webber 6; 15 Rosberg 4; 16= Liuzzi, Klien 1. Constructors: 1 Renault 131pts; 2 Ferrari 105; 3 McLaren-Mercedes 65; 4 Honda 32; 5 Sauber-BMW 19; 6 Toyota 16; 7 Red Bull-Ferrari 11; 8 Williams-Cosworth 10; 9 Scuderia Toro Rosso-Cosworth 1.

News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Extras
indybest
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
travel
Arts and Entertainment
music
Sport
football
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home