Michael's Last Race
December 28, 2006 7:27pm CST
The Brazilian Grand Prix on October 22 was the last race in the career of the sport's most victorious drive and holder of most of the records. Schumacher was 10 points behind Alonso. To take his eighth World Title, the German had to win the race and hope that Alonso scored no points. They would then be level. Schumacher would hold the tiebreaker edge with eight victories in the season, to Alonso's seven. Schumacher was fast all weekend, but had a problem in qualifying and began 10th on the grid. Alonso started 4th. Felipe Massa, Schumacher's Ferrari teammate held the lead from the first corner. Schumacher climbed to 5th by lap 8, showing that he was capable of winning. Then on lap 9 of the 71 lap race. Schumacher's left rear tyre deflated and his car limped around the track to the pits, dropping to last. It looked like Alonso was World Champion, that the race was finished and so was Schumacher's career, betrayed by the second race in a row by his car - his engine blew in Japan 2 weeks earlier. In fact, the oldest man in the race was about to show why he was the only 7 time World Champion and that he still might win another title, against the odds. Little by little, Schumacher climbed back. If Alonso failed to finish, then Schumacher might pull off a miracle and win the title. It was a masterful drive. Schumacher pecked off the competition one by one. The best moment came when, with less than 3 laps left, Schumacher pasted Kimi Raikkonen, the finnish driver in a Mclaren-Mercedes, who will replace him at Ferrari next year. Schumacher was now in 4th, and all he needed to do was pass Jensen Button's Honda and hope that Alonso, then in 2nd, retired or made a mistake. Massa would then hand Schumacher the lead, as other Ferrari team-mates have done in the past and Schumacher would win the title. Schumacher did not pass Button, and Alonso and his Renault finished the race. The Spaniard became the youngest double World Champion, a year after he had become the youngest World Champion. Yet that was overshadowed by the glory of Schumacher's doomed battle, his final bow in a sport where everything had gone so perfectly for him for 15 years.