MICHAEL SCHUMACHER has not yet given up on wrestling this season’s Formula One crown from Fernando Alonso’s vice-like grip. The multiple world champion interrupted the young Spaniard’s five straight pole position run, by dominating the qualifying sessions at the US Grand Prix in Indianapolis. Ferrari secured the first two starting positions on the grid, ahead of Giancarlo Fisichella and Rubens Barrichello with Alonso only on the third row in fifth.
As an incident packed race developed, the lead changed several times as pit stop strategies unfolded, but by the time the chequered flag indicated the end of the contest, Schumacher was back in front, jealously guarding a seven second advantage over team mate Felipe Massa. Fisichella came in third for Renault as the championship was kept alive. Nineteen points now separate the two main protagonists. The rivalry will continue in France in a fortnight’s time.
The two-wheel action continued at Donington with the British stage of the MotoGP. Defending champion, Valentino Rossi, was almost back to his best, despite suffering from a broken wrist sustained in Assen, and qualified in seventh place on the grid, behind Spain’s Daniel Pedrosa. The 2005 250cc winner was always quicker than the rest in practice, and confirmed his superiority in the race proper, holding off the Italian maestro in a fascinating duel. Marco Melandri finished in third, with championship leader, Nicky Hayden, down the field.