Returned to June after last year's football World Cup displaced it into the heart of the summer, the United States Grand completes the mid-season transatlantic leg of Formula One's schedule.

Although it clashes with the Le Mans 24 Hours, the grand prix will remain a major draw following events in Canada last weekend, even if the bulk of its following comes from outside the country that it takes place in. America remains reticent to embrace Formula One the way it does NASCAR, and the spectre of the 2005 grand prix still hangs over the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, despite a largely successful event last season. The US still has not got a driver in a leading car and doubts over Scott Speed's position pre-season will not have helped. However, ticket sales are reported to be brisk, with fans from around the world travelling to the Brickyard to see the next instalment in the Lewis Hamilton story.

Situated in the midst of the fabled oval, the USGP course is not the most testing, but provides the contrast of high speeds on the straight and banking and a tight, fiddly infield with which to test handling. The team that can get the right balance between the two will be well set on Sunday.
FIA F1 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP NEWS

The new face of motorsport - particularly in Britain where that beaming face graced the front of the majority of Monday newspapers -, Lewis Hamilton now visits the next stop on his journey of unknown territory with a skip across the border to the United States and Indianapolis.

However, any fears it will be a steep learning curve for the star rookie must surely be eased after his performance in Canada, a weekend that showed getting quickly on the pace is just another of the young Brit's immense talents.

Now almost four months since he stood beneath the Union Jack at the Australian Grand Prix to much acclaim, five more podiums later and Hamilton is leading the championship by a comfortable eight point margin - the largest it has been all season. A remarkable situation to be in at this stage in his F1 career, Hamilton will know that victory is the minimum that is now expected of him...

While the motorsport world hails the new pretender, the 'older' guard endured a forgettable weekend in Canada, not least Fernando Alonso, who has shown the first cracks in his steely demeanour by admitting to the media that he is not yet comfortable in McLaren, a situation being made no easier by the attention surrounding his upstart team-mate.

His erratic performance in Canada was testament to that and now the focus is on how he will respond at Indianapolis. The focus will also be on Ferrari, who were once again humbled by McLaren in Canada with a lacklustre performance from Felipe Massa and especially Kimi Raikkonen.

Although Raikkonen's fifth place did go some way to making up for Massa's disqualification, the Ferrari driver was once again looking out of sorts in Montreal and instead of challenging for the title, he is having to fend off the attentions of the in-form Nick Heidfeld who is just a point behind now.

Indeed, Heidfeld continued BMW's marvellous form this season, the German's second place giving weight to their claim to challenging Ferrari for the status of 'second-best team'. However, despite his achievements, most of the focus was instead on team-mate Robert Kubica, who defied his horrific smash during the race to leave hospital the next day with nothing more than a sprained ankle and light concussion.

Although the short gap between races suggests that BMW reserve drivers Timo Glock or Sebastian Vettel will be in-line for his seat at Indianapolis, the Pole insists he is fit to race. A decision is due on Thursday.

NEWS FROM THE TEAMS:
McLaren - Fernando Alonso (#1), Lewis Hamilton (#2):

Just when Formula 1 was in search of another superstar following the retirement of Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton has arrived to make motorsport headline news again around the world, and especially in Great Britain.

Although Hamilton's win came less than a year since the British national anthem was last heard on a podium ceremony, the fact he has taken just six races to add a race win to his profile has made him a household name remarkably quickly.

Still, he hasn't had time to savour his triumph with Hamilton getting just a week to ring the champagne from his overalls and step back into his McLaren car for the United States Grand Prix, another new experience in the 22 year-old's exciting campaign.

Nonetheless, despite the new level of expectation that is likely to come from his triumph, Hamilton is remaining grounded as to his chances at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"It still hasn't really sunk in that I have won my first race, it was an amazing weekend for me and it is fantastic that we are racing again already this weekend. The Motor Speedway is another tough circuit on the cars, I hope we are as competitive, but until we get out on the circuit on Friday we can't really predict how it is going to go. I am really excited to be racing at Indianapolis.

"It is such a legendary venue, you can't escape the history here and I am looking forward to experiencing the atmosphere for the first time. The track has the unique characteristic of the banking, but from what I hear it doesn't have a massive impact on the cars, but it will be pretty cool!

"To be going into race seven of the Championship in the position I am in is amazing; however it is still early days. This will be my seventh race and I am very much still learning. There are 11 more this season including Indy and that is a long way to go with a lot of hard work ahead. I have enjoyed the season so far, but am aware racing isn't predicable and anything could happen at the next race."

Alonso on the other hand looked fallible in Canada for the first time in a while, his various trips across the grass betraying his double world champion status. Although his eventual seventh place finish had more to do with his controversial penalty for pitting under the safety car, the Spaniard knows he has a lot to prove on one of his least successful tracks if he is to re-establish his superiority in the standings - and in the team...

"Canada was a tough and frustrating race for me, but at least I left Montreal with some points and am in a strong second position in the Championship, which is not won or lost in one race. I am in a good situation in the table, the car is great, it is definitely capable of winning races and I am looking forward to getting back out on track in America and hopefully having no safety cars.

"I have not had very good results in this race in the previous years, it was better last year than in 2005, so I am hoping it will improve again this year! It is always great to go racing at Indy, fans at Indy are fantastic, they are pretty serious about their motor racing and their passion means there is a great atmosphere. I hope we are able to go out there and put on a good race for them.

"Indy is another of the tracks that I want to win at, it is so historic and is a very important circuit in this sport, to have a trophy from there in my collection would be fantastic. There are opportunities to overtake at the Motor Speedway, the main one is probably if you slipstream another car on the start-finish straight, but you need to have a very fast straight line speed to make this work. This is why we have such a low level of downforce."
Renault - Giancarlo Fisichella (#3), Heikki Kovalainen (#4):

Renault were left with mixed emotions following the Canadian Grand Prix after an eventful weekend that saw Giancarlo Fisichella get disqualified but Heikki Kovalainen overcome an abysmal start to the event to cross the line a season-best fourth.

Getting rather too close to Montreal walls on more than one occasion, Kovalainen was enduring a scrappy weekend that betrayed his rookie status but held his own in the race to finish a strong fourth from 19th on the grid.

Fisichella on the other hand had the indignity of being shown the dreaded black flag when he followed Felipe Massa out of the pit lane when the red light was still on. Up to that point, the Italian was having another strong race, keeping up with the Ferraris and looking well on course for another strong points haul.

As it happens, Fisichella finds himself in a quandary between the front runners and the mid-fielders, a position he will be keen to re-establish at Indianapolis, scene of one of his finer races in 2006. Finishing on the podium and - most crucially - well ahead of Alonso, Fisichella will be chasing a similar result this weekend, but knows he will have McLaren, Ferrari and BMW to take on first.

"The race was going well and the car was quick, but
everything ended badly. I could have finished on the podium and it is frustrating to miss out on an opportunity like that.

"The positive thing to draw out of it all, though, is that the car was clearly competitive in Montreal. We were fighting with Ferrari in the race. That's encouraging for this weekend in Indy... and hopefully we can round it off with a better result.

Kovalainen meanwhile needs to build upon his fourth place in Montreal with an equally strong result that doesn't come as the result of luck. At least, he will need to match Fisichella at Indianapolis.

"I have to say that the way things turned around after two difficult days was pretty amazing. We finished so close to the podium after a tough weekend, and I think we can be satisfied because it wasn't just down to luck: we had the right strategy, I drove well and the car was quick... That was a good boost coming into this race, and I will be aiming to keep the momentum."

Ferrari - Felipe Massa (#5), Kimi Raikkonen (#6):

Ferrari will want to draw a line under the Canadian Grand Prix after failing to see one of their cars feature on the podium for the first time in eleven races when Massa was disqualified for his pit lane indiscretion, while Kimi Raikkonen complained of handling problems on the way to another lacklustre fifth place.

Indeed, Raikkonen has come under increasing scrutiny in recent weeks for his failure to match the pace of team-mate Massa, let alone the McLarens that have seemingly found their form mid-way through the season. Although contact on the first corner in Montreal and an unlucky pit strategy can explain his eventual finishing position, Raikkonen never had race winning pace in Canada.

It is a situation he is keen to rectify at Indianapolis, a circuit that has always been very friendly to Ferrari, with just Mika Hakkinen's win in 2001 upsetting the Maranello's dominance of the race since its introduction. Raikkonen is counting on this to be the case this year, not least because he sits some 21 points off Hamilton now in the points standings.

"It's difficult to say what we expect from IMS. I enjoy the circuit and it has always been a good circuit for Ferrari. There is a very long straight, where you need to have a good speed, but at the same moment the infield section is very tight and there are some corners you have to take with the smallest gears. Fortunately you are able to overtake at the end of the straight."

Having slipped away in the title battle, Massa will be looking for a repeat of the form that took him to second place in 2006, albeit having led for the first half of the race before his 'problems' in the pit lane allowed team-mate Michael Schumacher through to victory. Luckily for the Brazilian, with Raikkonen falling away in the standings, no such problems are likely to be required this weekend should they arise.

Honda - Jenson Button (#7), Rubens Barrichello (#8):

Honda heads to Indianapolis - almost the halfway point in the 2007 season - still looking for its first points, but came agonisingly close to opening its account in Canada last time out.

An incident-packed race provided good opportunity for the strategists to do their thing and, with just a handful of laps remaining, Rubens Barrichello was running in third place. Typical of the team's luck, however, the Brazilian was required to make a 'splash and dash' fuel stop before the chequered flag, dropping him to twelfth. Shrugging off his disappointment, however, Barrichello is already turning his attention to another circuit which he enjoys.

"The circuit at Indianapolis is quite unique and the venue usually puts on a great show over the race weekend," he notes, "Although the track is not particularly challenging and actually very slow with the tight infield section, it is a lot of fun, particularly driving the first corner of the oval banking flat out. It's always a good race for the fans because you can overtake at Indianapolis."

If Barrichello's afternoon in Montreal was frustrating, at least he got to race - unlike team-mate Jenson Button, whose car refused to select first gear and left him stranded on the grid. Although not as big a fan of the Indianapolis circuit as his team-mate, the Briton admits to enjoying taking on the different challenge it presents.

"I had never driven on a banked circuit before Formula One went to Indy, so the last corner of the F1 circuit configuration is really fun to drive," he explains, "I know the banking is not much compared to the IndyCar races, but it feels banked to us. The circuit is not such a high-speed circuit, which I generally prefer, but you can get some great racing as there are some good overtaking opportunities. The key is achieving a package which doesn't have too much aerodynamic drag for the long straight."

BMW Sauber - Nick Heidfeld (#9), Robert Kubica (#10):

BMW Sauber made the headlines for all the right and wrong reasons in Canada, and will provide some of the central storylines heading to Indianapolis.

Nick Heidfeld not only out-qualified the two Ferraris, but he also provided the only thing approaching a challenge to Lewis Hamilton in the race although, in reality, it was not a particularly strong one. However, the German's second place result - the best for BMW Sauber in its short collaborative history - was overshadowed by the massive accident suffered by team-mate Robert Kubica, which left him hospitalised.

Remarkably, despite initial reports to the contrary, the Pole appears to have been largely unharmed in the incident, and was discharged from the medical facility in time to consider racing this weekend.

"I have no pain and feel well," he says, "I want to thank everyone for the medical attention I received and for all the good wishes - but I am happy that I have been able to leave the hospital so quickly and will now prepare for the race in Indianapolis.

"I really don't have any special feeling in my mind for the track. There are long straights, which are punctuated by the last corner, which is banked, and then you come into a part where it is very slow. But you have to have the right configuration between high speed and slow corners, so I think it is a good track for our cars."

While Kubica won't know whether he can take his place alongside Heidfeld until Thursday's FIA medical check - Sebastian Vettel and Timo Glock remain on standby - Heidfeld is already looking forward to chasing another podium result in the US.

"I like it when race tracks have a distinctive character, and that's definitely the case with Indianapolis," the German says, "The Speedway is an icon of American motor racing, and the high-banked turn is something special for Formula One, although it isn't exactly challenging for the drivers to drive flat out in a straight line. It's far more difficult to get the car's set-up just right. You have to find the right compromise so as to be as fast as possible along the almost two-kilometre full-throttle stretch, yet still have enough downforce for the many corners in the twisty infield."

A good result will go some way to erasing memories of last year's roll at the first corner, caused when the two McLarens - then driven by Juan Montoya and Kimi Raikkonen - precipitated a multiple pile-up. This year, a repeat incident could give BMW Sauber a shot at a good result.

"In the past, BMW has lost a lot of points in Indianapolis as a result of accidents," motorsport director Mario Theissen admits, "From that point of view, my hope is, above all, for a collision-free weekend."

Technical director Willy Rampf, meanwhile, is the man left to wrestle with the dilemma of finding the right set-up for the quirky circuit.

"The Indianapolis Speedway is fundamentally different from the circuit at Montreal, yet both tracks demand a medium downforce level," he explains, "At Indy, that is the result of a tricky compromise. On the oval section, you have the longest flat-out stretch on the whole F1 calendar and, to achieve maximum top speed, you would want to take a very low wing setting and minimal drag. But, with a low-downforce package of the kind we use in Monza, there wouldn't be nearly enough downforce for the eleven turns in the infield section. If you haven't got sufficient braking stability and traction in these corners, you lose more time than can be gained on the straights.

"These radically different demands made by the oval and the infield section turn set-up work at Indy into a fine balancing act but, in 2006, we made quite a good job of it."

Toyota - Ralf Schumacher (#11), Jarno Trulli (#12):

Toyota's lacklustre season received an equally meagre one point boost in the carnage of the Canadian Grand Prix, with an under scrutiny Ralf Schumacher giving himself a potential reprieve by finishing eighth.

Between the lines though, Schumacher 's weekend was far from a success, the German once again trounced by team-mate Jarno Trulli, who qualified tenth compared to Schumacher's 18th - the third race in succession he has missed the Q1 cut.

Although he managed to salvage a point, with rumours of replacement gathering pace, Schumacher needs his season to get considerably better, starting off with the United States Grand Prix.

Sadly for him though the race has rarely been a favourable one, experiencing high-speed accidents in 2004 and 2005, the latter of which kick-starting the infamous Michelin-boycott of that year. Nonetheless, Schumacher is confident things will start picking up.

"As the home of American motor racing, Indianapolis is a special venue and it has a special atmosphere to go with it. Unfortunately it has never been a very lucky track for me and I have had a couple of incidents that I would prefer to forget. Now I will look to put those behind me with a more positive visit to the venue. The main challenge of the Speedway's F1 circuit is to balance the set-up of the car.

"We have to reach a good top speed along the banked start-finish straight into the first corner while keeping the car stable through the slow and twisty infield section. This season has been a struggle for me but I remain confident that we can turn our form around. We scored a point at Montreal and Toyota has a strong record from its races at Indianapolis so we will hope to give the team a boost with a good result on Sunday."

By contrast, Indianapolis has been a happy hunting ground for Trulli over the years, finishing fourth from 20th in 2004, qualifying on pole for the ill-fated 2005 race and finishing fourth again from the pit lane last season. It is these stats that make the Italian confident an equally good result this year.

"Since I've been at Toyota our car has always been competitive at Indianapolis. In 2005 I took pole position and last year I finished 4th despite starting from the pit lane. The Speedway plays host to one of the most important races in the world so it is a special place to drive. You can really see how the people are passionate about motor sport. I enjoy the atmosphere both at the circuit and in the town because everyone is so friendly.

"The Formula 1 track is not particularly technical but it is slippery and we work hard on the mechanical grip in the slow corners to allow us to take off downforce for straight-line speed. We've been having a difficult season in 2007 and the Canadian Grand Prix was a very hard race for me but now I'm hoping for a better weekend's work."

Red Bull Racing - David Coulthard (#14), Mark Webber (#15):

Red Bull Racing were left to wonder what could have been in Canada when Mark Webber qualified an equal season's best sixth, only to see a poor start followed by a spin down the field in the early stages of the race ruin his chances. Even so, the Australian fought his way up to third, but found himself out of luck with the myriad of safety car periods to plummet back down the order.

Nonetheless, while luck and strategy were not on Red Bull's side in Montreal, speed certainly was, with Webber carrying on the pace shown in Spain and Monaco with a competitive weekend.

Still, it does leave Webber chasing his first points of the season still and he is going to be desperate to carry some of his superb qualifying form into the race.

Team-mate David Coulthard meanwhile will be eager to merely match Webber's pace over a single lap at Indianapolis, even if he can take heart in the fact that his race speed has often been equal to - or even better - than his counterpart.

Williams - Nico Rosberg (#16), Alex Wurz (#17):

Although Williams may have had slight designs on a podium in the Canadian Grand Prix, chances are the identity of the driver stood on the rostrum would have been Nico Rosberg and not Alex Wurz.

Nonetheless, despite qualifying seventh and 20th respectively, it was in fact Wurz starting in the latter grid slot that crossed the line third in a race that, save for winner Lewis Hamilton, largely rewarded those with experience.

Indeed, a savvy strategy from Williams - together with numerous incidents for others - had played right into Wurz's hands, allowing the Austrian to cruise home and finish some 17 positions better than where he had started.

It is a result that has given Wurz confidence ahead of the United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis, a race where he is looking to make it three point finishes in a row.

"Coming to Indy is special as it is a race track which has a significant place in motor racing history, in fact, what a name - 'Indianapolis'. I am really looking forward to the race and of course I come here feeling very positive after scoring some more points in Canada, but of course the US GP is another clean sheet and a new game.

"My goal is to ensure I qualify in the top ten and of course fight hard for some points in the race itself. The set-up for the race is quite similar to Canada, yet there are some subtle differences in the details, for instance the tyre compound is one step on in terms of hardness, so we will definitely have to do quite a lot of set-up work on the car to find its balance on this track."

Rosberg was an unlucky example of the new safety car rules for 2007 when he was caught making his mandatory pit stop when the race had been placed under caution. Together with a spin as he attempted to make up lost ground, Rosberg's eventual tenth place finish was a far cry from the sixth he was running in the early stages when the German had been bothering the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen in front of him.

Nonetheless, Rosberg goes to Indianapolis eager to maintain the impressive pace he has shown in the first half of the season, even if he admits to the track not being one of his favourites.

"After Montr?al, I am going to Chicago for a couple of days of relaxation, it sounds like an interesting place, so I am looking forward to it. Moving on to Indianapolis, I don't suppose it is my favourite track that we visit during the year, but as a driver I will put this to the back of your mind.

"We will run similar downforce levels to Montr?al, albeit the circuit has different characteristics, but we'll still be hoping for a similar level of performance and I want to make up for the points I missed out on in Canada. In many ways, it's good to have another race so soon as it provides the possibility of making up for the problems I had in Canada."

Scuderia Toro Rosso - Vitantonio Liuzzi (#18), Scott Speed (#19):

STR return to the scene of their greatest moment in 2006 when Vitantonio Liuzzi delivered the fledgling team their one and only point to date having survived the carnage of a race that produced only nine finishers.

However, STR go to Indianapolis knowing they could have multiplied their overall points tally in Canada when Liuzzi - having arguably his strongest race to date - got himself well into the points as the numerous safety cars and caution periods eliminated and delayed most of the grid.

Into the latter stages though, Liuzzi clipped the kerb on the final corner chicane, spitting him out into 'Champions Wall' and preventing what at the time looked like a potential podium finish.

Nonetheless, Indianapolis harbours fond memories for Liuzzi and although the same could not be said for team-mate Scott Speed, the only American driver on the grid is eager to rectify that this weekend. If his 13th place on the grid in last year's race is anything to go by, Speed will be fired up for his home event.

Spyker F1 - Christijan Albers (#20), Adrian Sutil (#21):

Although the status quo remains at the bottom of the points table, Spyker will be disappointed to have not at least been in the running for points throughout the melee of safety cars that made up the Canadian Grand Prix - instead Christijan Albers and Adrian Sutil caused two of them...

Citing it as being perhaps the best chance to score this year, Colin Kolles called the race a missed opportunity when Sutil punched the circuit's infamous walls, while Albers innocuous looking wide run across the grass at turn eight destroyed the front of his car.

Nonetheless, the team are putting Canada behind them and are looking ahead to Indianapolis where they are hoping to display some of the race pace that has seen them prove somewhat more competitive in recent races. Most importantly though, Colin Kolles wants to see them show it all the way to the finish.

"I think that is very obvious, to get two cars to the finish without making any mistakes," said Colin Kolles. "We never forget that we are not here to lap around at the back, we do want to move forward, but the only way we can move forward is to set good foundations and build on them."

"Our straightline speeds in Canada were pretty good, and we genuinely had our most competitive weekend," Mike Gascoyne added. "Again, Indy is a low downforce track. In P3 and Q1 in Canada we were two seconds off the front, and we were 21st and 22nd!

"There are plenty of times in the past when you would have been 11th and 12th. So we'll just keep doing our job, and the good thing is if we can make the car half a second or a second quicker, then we'll be right in the hunt.
Super Aguri F1 - Takuma Sato (#22), Anthony Davidson (#23):

Even Alonso's hardened fans must have cocked a wry smile at the way Takuma Sato rather audaciously overtook the reigning champion in the latter stages of the Canadian Grand Prix on the way to sixth place.

Indeed, while Super Aguri's pace this year means we are used to seeing them challenge in the mid-field now, it is still a sight to behold when Sato works his way up to sixth from ninth in the final few laps just a year after they were finishing some three laps behind the leaders.

With four points to his and Aguri's points tally now, Sato's rejuvenated career takes him to Indianapolis, a venue of very fond memories after claiming his one and only podium there with a storming drive for BAR back in 2004.

"I will try of course to get a point again. That would be fantastic, but realistically under normal circumstances it will be a difficult race for us. We still have to target getting through to Q3 - we were very close to that here. I think it's going to be very tough at Indy, but we always have to try and hopefully we can have another strong weekend."

Perhaps somewhat forgotten in the euphoria of Sato's sixth place, Anthony Davidson was also on for his first points of the season before coming off badly in an altercation with a beaver, even if the beaver probably came off worse.

Having been running third at the time, Davidson believes he could have gone all the way to chequered flag with some useful points in his hand, but it was not to be. He will be looking to keep up with Sato at Indianapolis.


TYRES:

Although this year's race marks two seasons since possibly the greatest farce in Formula 1's illustrious history, the significance of tyres remains an important factor of the United States Grand Prix weekend.

Ever since those seven Michelin-shod teams pulled into the pit lane to retire on the grounds of safety, Formula 1 has had to work hard to build its reputation, particularly in the US where the race was given a big thumbs down from furious punters.

Nonetheless, with Michelin having handed the sole supplying job over to Bridgestone, the Michelin-gate affair is now very much a distant memory for the Japanese tyre company. Even so, Indianapolis' famous banked oval continues to create a cause for thought for Bridgestone's designers, with the medium and soft compound rubber being adopted for this race.

"Indy is a compromise," said Kees van der Grint. "There is the infield where you need high downforce, good grip and a softer tyre. Then there is the main straight and the banking where the teams try to reduce their car's drag to have a very high top speed. With the setups used, the cars will suffer a little bit from lack of downforce in the infield which they try to make up with tyre grip, which means softer compounds.

"Because of the very high speeds and grip requirements we will use the medium and soft compound Bridgestone Potenzas. It is also essential that the teams maintain the correct tyre pressures, as recommended by Bridgestone.

"This is important from both a safety and performance point of view - especially where you have a banking which creates forces which are nearly double those experienced when the car is in a horizontal position. There is a little bit of a conflict for what is required as Indianapolis is not a straightforward circuit, and this presents a big challenge."

THE TRACK:

Race Distance: 73 laps - Circuit Length: 2.605 miles (4.192 kms)

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the second oldest motor-racing venue currently in use. The 4.192 kms course that snakes through the infield also utilises part of the fabled Indianapolis oval. Indianapolis has played host to Formula One since 2000 and now forms a mid-season set of back-to-back races with Canada.

Tony George, head of the Speedway Corporation and a descendent of the Hulman family that has steered the fortunes of the historic American track, pulled out all the stops to create a world-class racing circuit that could provide a permanent home for the United States Grand Prix. In pursuit of that goal, he made radical changes to the original Speedway by demolishing buildings, erecting a new pit complex and grandstands, and building today?s challenging road course.

Overtaking is much easier at Indianapolis than at most tracks, with clear passing opportunities into turns one and eight, both second-gear corners proceeded by long straights. The slowest part of the track is the 40mph turn eight, the first part of an extremely tight S- bend, while the fastest is turn thirteen. This is the first corner of the oval and is taken flat-out at 185mph in an F1 car.
THE WINNER?

LAST SEASON:

Ferrari's season took a dramatic turn for the better from the 2006 United States Grand Prix onwards, Michael Schumacher earning his third win of the season from team-mate Felipe Massa, albeit only after 'clutch problems' in the pit lane solved the team's issue of how to get the Brazilian back behind the German when he made the better getaway to lead early on.

The race itself will be better remembered for the first corner pile-up that eliminated seven cars and spectacularly pitched Nick Heidfeld into a barrel-roll. The incident also marked the final time NASCAR-bound Juan Pablo Montoya would step out of a Formula 1 car.

Third place Giancarlo Fisichella out paced championship leading Fernando Alonso on a day when the Spaniard had a curious off-day that saw him cross the line half a minute off the lead in fifth. That was also behind Jarno Trulli, the Italian producing one of his best performances with a drive to fourth from the pit lane.

With only nine finishers, Rubens Barrichello and David Coulthard picked up some useful points in sixth and seventh, ahead of Vitantonio Liuzzi, who in turn scored STR's first-ever marker.

1. Michael Schumacher Germany Ferrari-Ferrari 73 01:34:35.199
2. Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari-Ferrari +7.9
3. Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Renault-Renault +16.5
4. Jarno Trulli Italy Toyota-Toyota +23.6
5. Fernando Alonso Spain Renault-Renault +28.4
6. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Honda-Honda +36.5
7. David Coulthard Britain Red Bull-Ferrari +1 lap
8. Vitantonio Liuzzi Italy Toro Rosso-Cosworth +1 lap

 

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