news: Imola

Ahead of the San Marino Grand Prix, reigning world champion Michael Schumacher posted a warning to his rivals and run-away championship leader Fernando Alonso in particular by saying that he has “nothing to lose” after his worst-ever start to a F1 season. In free training, the German finished fourth and sixth, the first official qualifying session elevating him to third. A mishap in the final time trial, however, saw the Ferrari pilot drop back to 14th well down on Kimi Raikkonen and second-placed Alonso, Jenson Button starting in third. Raikkonen set off like a scalded cat only to succumb to engine trouble soon after, leaving Alonso to take up the running.

Successive fastest laps astonishingly brought Michael Schumacher into contention and onto Alonso’s tail 12 laps from the finish. An exciting duel developed during which the best driver over the past decade failed to find a way past the young Spaniard. Alonso hung on for his third victory of the current season, putting himself 18 points clear in the drivers’ championship. Schumacher took the chequered flag a reluctant second with Jenson Button in third to bank his first points of the current campaign. Worth a mention is Alexander Wurz who raced instead of the still-injured Juan Pablo Montoya and steered his McLaren into a highly credible fourth place.