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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
Sport
Rio Ferdinand returns for QPR
sportRio Ferdinand returns from his three-game suspension today
News
The Speaker of the House will takes his turn as guest editor of the Today programme
arts + ents
News
people

Watch the spoof Thanksgiving segment filmed for Live!
Sport
Billy Twelvetrees will start for England against Australia tomorrow with Owen Farrell dropping to the bench
rugbyEngland need a victory against Australia today
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of The Guest Cat – expect to see it everywhere
books
Sport
Tyson Fury poses outside the Imperial War Museum in south London ahead of his fight against Dereck Chisora
boxingAll British heavyweight clash gets underway on Saturday night
News
i100 Charity collates series of videos that show acts of kindness to animals
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

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game