Michael Schumacher secured his first victory of the 2006 F1 season after he celebrated in the fourth race of the season in Imola, where he beat Fernando Alonso in Renault from the pole position in a tense strategic race.

Alonso had an outstanding start of the season with two wins and second place in the first three races (28 points) while Schumacher was second in Bahrain, sixth in Malaysia and crashed in Australia.

In qualifying, Schumacher clinched second pole position in the season (1:22.795) after Bahrain in front of two Honda drivers Button and Barrichello, team mate Masse and Fernando Alonso in Renault who had more fuel.

It was 66th pole position in his career, most in Formula 1’s history after equalizing Senna’s record in the first race of the season in Bahrain (65 pole positions).

San Marino Imola F1 2006 start of the race Foto Ferrari
Start of the 2006 San Marino GP (Photo: Ferrari)

Schumacher entered the pits five laps earlier after running lighter in final part of the qualifying, but Ferrari put more fuel during his pitstop to extend his second stint. In order to save tyres for the key last laps of second stint, Schumacher deliberately slowed down and made it easier for Alonso to catch up.

Alonso came within a second of Schumacher in the lap 33, but despite the speed difference he could not pass him on the track, just like year earlier when Michael failed to pass Alonso.

But when Spaniard entered the pits in lap 41, Schumacher released all the speed in his Ferrari F248F1 and Bridgestone tyres, drove a brilliant lap and entered the pits in the next lap which was enough to get out in the lead ahead of Alonso.

By the end of the race Alonso followed Schumacher closely, but with no serious threats to his lead. Michael secured first win of the season, but Alonso continued to lead the drivers championship with 15 points more than the German. Renault led the constructors with 18 points more than McLaren and 21 points more than Ferrari.

STARTING GRID

1 5 M.Schumacher Ferrari 1:22.795
2 12 Jenson Button Honda 1:22.988 0.193
3 11 R.Barrichello Honda 1:23.242 0.447
4 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:23.702 0.907
5 1 Fernando Alonso Renault 1:23.709 0.914
6 7 Ralf Schumacher Toyota 1:23.772 0.977
7 4 J.P.Montoya McLaren/Mercedes 1:24.021 1.226
8 3 Kimi Räikkönen McLaren/Mercedes 1:24.158 1.363
9 8 Jarno Trulli Toyota 1:24.172 1.377
10 9 Mark Webber Williams/Cosworth 1:24.795 2.000
11 2 G.Fisichella Renault 1:23.771 0.976
12 17 J.Villeneuve BMW Sauber 1:23.887 1.092
13 10 Nico Rosberg Williams/Cosworth 1:23.966 1.171
14 14 David Coulthard Red Bull/Ferrari 1:24.101 1.306
15 16 Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:24.129 1.334
16 20 Vitantonio Liuzzi Toro Rosso/Cosworth 1:24.520 1.725
17 15 Christian Klien Red Bull/Ferrari 1:25.410 2.615
18 21 Scott Speed Toro Rosso/Cosworth 1:25.437 2.642
19 18 Tiago Monteiro Midland/Toyota 1:26.820 4.025
20 19 Christijan Albers Midland/Toyota 1:27.088 4.293
21 22 Takuma Sato Super Aguri/Honda 1:27.609 4.814
22 23 Yuji Ide Super Aguri/Honda 1:29.282 6.487

RACE RESULTS

1 5 M.Schumacher Ferrari 62 1:31:06.486
2 1 Fernando Alonso Renault 62 1:31:08.582 2.096
3 4 J.P.Montoya McLaren/Mercedes 62 1:31:22.354 15.868
4 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 62 1:31:23.582 17.096
5 3 Kimi Räikkönen McLaren/Mercedes 62 1:31:24.010 17.524
6 9 Mark Webber Williams/Cosworth 62 1:31:44.225 37.739
7 12 Jenson Button Honda 62 1:31:46.121 39.635
8 2 G.Fisichella Renault 62 1:31:46.686 40.200
9 7 Ralf Schumacher Toyota 62 1:31:51.997 45.511
10 11 R.Barrichello Honda 62 1:32:24.337 1:17.851
11 10 Nico Rosberg Williams/Cosworth 62 1:32:26.161 1:19.675
12 17 J.Villeneuve BMW Sauber 62 1:32:28.856 1:22.370
13 16 Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 61 1:31:14.621 1 lap
14 20 Vitantonio Liuzzi Toro Rosso/Cosworth 61 1:31:16.127 1 lap
15 21 Scott Speed Toro Rosso/Cosworth 61 1:31:17.717 1 lap
16 18 Tiago Monteiro Midland/Toyota 60 1:32:04.462 2 lapa
(16) 14 David Coulthard Red Bull/Ferrari 47 1:11:12.998 Halfshaft
(18) 22 Takuma Sato Super Aguri/Honda 44 1:08:45.746 Spun off
(17) 15 Christian Klien Red Bull/Ferrari 40 1:00:36.834 Hydraulics
(20) 23 Yuji Ide Super Aguri/Honda 23 50:50.196 Suspension
(10) 8 Jarno Trulli Toyota 5 8:41.967 Steering
19 Christijan Albers Midland/Toyota 0 Collision
Schumacher celebrates victory San Marino F1 2006 Imola Foto Ferrari
Schumacher celebrates his first victory of the 2006 F1 season and 85th in his career (Photo: Ferrari)
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