2000'S F1: SCHUMACHER MANIA, ALONSO'S ARRIVAL AND THE ICEMAN

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If you're not aware, over the past few months I have been summarising each decade of Formula One in my tribe WRC Nation, and if you would like to read my one on the nineties, click here.

The 'noughties' in Formula One was a mix of amazing, even championship battles and utter dominance, I'm taking about the Schumacher dominance, where he easily won every title, except for 2000 and 2003, which were closer than expected.

2000: SCHUMACHER FINALLY BEATS HAKKINEN

Schumacher Winning The 2000 European GP

On his third attempt, Schumacher fended off Hakkinen for the title, and on the fifth attempt with Ferrari.

At Australia it seemed status quo: a close battle between Ferrari and Mercedes whilst Williams and Jordan fought for 'best of the rest'. Hakkinen took pole but both the defending champion and Couthard retired due to the same problem, handing Schumacher the win, Barrichello finished second on his Ferrari debut, Ralf Schumacher getting a fine podium for Williams, and both BAR's finished in the top six.

In Interlagos Hakkinen again took pole and led until lap 29 when Hakkinen's engine blew and Coulthard's gearbox. Unreliability for McLaren mean't Schumacher took another win, Fisichella superb P2 for Benetton, Frentzen third for Jordan.

For a third time successively it was Hakkinen on pole but Schumacher's win. This time Hakkinen lasted until lap 44, but twas not a mechanical problem, but a superior strategy that mean't Schumacher leapfrogged Hakkinen for the win, by just one second, Coulthard scoring third.

At Silverstone Barrichello took pole and led for half of the race until Coulthard made a bold pass on the outside, Barrichello soon shortly retiring. It was a McLaren 1-2 at Silverstone, Coulthard winning, Schumacher third.

A repeat 1-2 at Spain mean't that the world champion and McLaren still had hope, this time the Finn winning, Schumacher only mustering fifth.

At Nurburgring Coulthard took pole but Hakkinen lead until Schumacher overtook with twenty laps to go, and it finished like that, Coulthard third, but a lap down.

Schumacher took pole and was on his way to another Monaco win until the German suffered a rare car faliure, handing Coulthard his second win of the season, Barrichello second, Fisichella. It was now the Scotsman who was just twelve points away from Schumacher, Hakkinen a furhter six back.

Schumacher's fifth victory from eight races reinstated his crushing twenty point lead at the halfway mark, Barrichello relinquishing his first win too, Hakkinen only managing fourth.

At Austria Hakkinen retired to form by winning a dominant McLaren 1-2, leading from pole, Barrichello third. Schumacher crashed attempting to get a red flag.

After 124 starts, Barrichello win a race, in Germany. He qualified P18 in rainy conditions and drove one of his greatest drives in his career to win from Hakkinen and Coulthard. Schumacher not scoring again meant that Couthard and Hakkinen, tied on points, were just two points behind, Barrichello not too far back either.

Hakkinen's resurgence continued in Hungary by winning a dominant race, Schumacher a distant second with Coulthard close behind, Rubens fourth. The defending champion was now in the lead.

At Spa Hakkinen orchestrated one of the greatest overtakes in F1 history. Chasing Schumacher with four to go Hakkinen got a great run out of Eau Rouge, and approching Les Combes Schumacher went left to overtake a backmarker, but Hakkinen went right overtaking both of them in the process to take another Spa win.

Schumacher responded by winning two dominant races, Hakkinen only managing six points. The championship changed, Schumacher only needed a few points to win.

At Suzuka the title was decided yet again, Schumacher taking pole and fought off Hakkinen to win, and the title.

At the final race Schumacher took pole and won the race, Coulthard battling for the win but could only finish second.

DRIVERS STANDINGS (POINTS/WINS)

1. Schumacher (GER) - 108/9

2. Hakkinen (FIN) - 89/4

3. Coulthard (GBR) - 73/3

CONSTRUCTORS CHAMPIONS: FERRARI

RACE OF THE SEASON: SPA (WON BY HAKKINEN)

2001: SCHUMACHER WINS, RIVALS WILT

Schumacher Leading Hakkinen In Melbourne, 2001

2001 saw the start of a Brawn/Schumacher dominance that could not be stopped by any of his rivals. The combination of the cars reliability and Schumacher's driving mean't that the German easily won his fourth title.

In Australia Schumacher took the pole but he diced with Hakkinen until his suspension broke on lap 25. For the first time since 1997, the fastest car at the start of the season wasn't a McLaren. Coulthard took up Hakkinen's mantle and finished close behind in second, Barrichello only managing third. It was a good day for the Sauber team, Heidfeld in P4 and Raikkonen, on his debut finished sixth from starting P13.

At Sepang with changing conditions Schumacher took pole and the win again, this time a 1-2 for Ferrari, Coulthard finishing third, Hakkinen sixth.

At Interlagos it was a Schumacher front row, Ralf colliding with Barrichello on the first turn. Changing conditions shaked up the race, Montoya even in the hunt for the win. Coulthard took the lead on lap 50 and never gave it up. It had now emerged that Coulthard was the only challenger to Schumacher. Heidfeld another great result, this time P3.

At Imola Coulthard took pole with Ferrari only P4 and P6 but Ralf Schumacher led after turn two, and led every lap until the chequered flag in what was an inspired race from the Williams driver. Coulthard finished second, now on equal points with Schumacher.

Schumacher responded by taking a triple crown in Spain, Montoya finishing P2 over fourty seconds behind, Villeneuve P3 for BAR, Coulthard only fifth.

At Austria Schumacher took pole but JPM took the lead. On lap 16 attempt a pass but took both of them off, gifting Barrichello the win, until Coulthard eeked out his tyres to overtake Barrichello at the pit stops. In the end Schumacher recovered to second, but Coulthard was only four points behind now.

Coulthard took pole at Monaco but could only finish fifth, the Ferrari's in a league of their own, Schumacher leading a 1-2.

Schumacher took pole but it was the other Schumacher who took the win, leading the first ever brother 1-2, Hakkinen claiming his first podium of the season.

Schumacher won at home from Montoya and Coulthard. All of a sudden he had a 24 point lead, and he followed this up with another win, Coulthard only managing fourth.

At Silverstone Mika Hakkinen finally won a race in 2001. Qualifying P2, he followed behind Schumacher for a few laps until he overtook and never looked back, Barrichello completing the podium.

Montoya took pole at Germany and led half of the race until his fuel tank detonated, gifting his team-mate Ralf Schumacher his third win of the season, Barrichello second and another podium for Villeneuve of BAR.

It was at Hungary where Schumacher claimed the title, and from pole it was a rather easy race in a Ferrari 1-2, Coulthard third.

Schumacher celebrated by winning one of his favourite races, Spa, leading every lap, Coulthard second and Fisichella a excellent third in the Benetton.

At Monza the tifosi hoped for a Ferrari 1-2, but Montoya had other ideas. He claimed pole and though he battled with Barrichello for most of the race he held on for his first win, Ralf Schumacher rounding out the podium. It was at Monza McLaren revealed they were replacing Hakkinen with rookie Raikkonen, who had finished fourth twice so far in the Sauber this season.

At the USA race Schumacher took pole but it was an excellent final duel between Hakkinen and Schumacher, the former taking his 20th and final victory, Coulthard on the podium to celebrate.

In the final race of the season at Suzuka Schumacher battled with the Williams for the win but won with ease, Montoya second, Coulthard and Hakkinen P3 and P4.

DRIVERS STANDINGS (POINTS/WINS)

1. Schumacher (GER) - 123/9

2. Coulthard (GBR) - 65/2

3. Barrichello (BRA) - 56/0

CONSTRUCTORS CHAMPIONS: FERRARI

RACE OF THE SEASON: BRAZIL (WON BY COULTHARD)

2002: SCHUMACHER'S SUPREMACY

Montoya Leading Schumacher In Australia

If you thought 2001 was domination, wait till you see 2002. Only two races were won by non-Ferrari drivers, Barrichello winning four, Schumacher eleven.

At the opener Barrichello took pole but failed to finish, Schumacher winning from Montoya, and Raikkonen claiming P3 on his McLaren debut. Good signs already.

At the first corner Schumacher and Montoya battled for the lead going into turn two, the two colliding, but able to continue racing, but gifted the lead to Barrichello, but it was Ralf Schumacher who won the race, Montoya making it a Williams 1-2 for the first time since 1997.

The Williams duo and Schumacher battled again at Interlagos, Schumacher winning by five tenths from the other Schumacher, Coulthard scoring P3. Good signs from Renault in their return season with Button scoring two successive P4's.

Over the next three races Schumacher won all of them, two of them Ferrari 1-2's, the other time Montoya finishing second. Schumacher already had double the points of Montoya six rounds in and already the title was simply his.

At Monaco it was Ferrari's first defeat of the season, Montoya taking pole but Coulthard leading every lap, Schumacher a close second but unable to find away past the Scotsman.

At Canada Montoya took pole and again had an engine faliure whilst leading the race, gifting Schumacher the win, but Coulthard was a close second, Barrichello third.

At the Nurburgring Montoya took another pole but Barrichello kept Schumacher behind to win the race in a Ferrar 1-2, Raikkonen finally getting onto the podium only for the second time in 2002.

Schumacher won again at Silverstone, and rapped up the title in France in an epic race which he won, but only just, Kimi Raikkonen one second behind.

At Germany Schumacher won from the Williams duo, and then in Hungary Barrichello took pole and won the race from Schumacher for his second win of the season.

In the final four races it was four Ferrari 1-2's, Schumacher winning two and so did Barrichello.

DRIVERS STANDINGS (POINTS/WINS)

1. Schumacher (GER) - 144/11

2. Barichello (BRA) - 77/4

3. Montoya (COL) - 50/0

CONSTRUCTORS CHAMPIONS: FERRARI

RACE OF THE SEASON: FRANCE (WON BY SCHUMACHER)

2003: SCHUMACHER FENDS OFF RAIKKONEN AND MONTOYA

Montoya Overtaking Schumacher At Monza, 2003

Finally, it was a race of the title for the first time in three years, three drivers challenging for the title. Five-time champion Schumacher had the surperior car but had a hard time dealing with Montoya in the Williams and Raikkonen in the McLaren.

At the opening race in Australia it was a breathtaking race. Four drivers were in the hunt for the win, but it was Coulthard who took his thirteenth and final win in a mistake-free drive, Montoya second and Raikkonen third, Schumacher only managing fourth.

At Malaysia it was Alonso's first pole but Raikkonen's first victory. Alonso led of the line, until he pitted on lap thirtten, handing Raikkonen the lead. The Finn faced challenge from Barrichello, but held on to win by fourty seconds, Barrichello second, Alonso P3 in his first podium, Schumacher only sixth.

In the second wet race of the season already Giancarlo Fisichella provided an awesome race, winning in a Jordan, their fourth and final win, Raikkonen a close second, Alonso third again.

Ferrari struck back over the next three races, Schumacher winning all three, Barrichello finishing third all three times, but importantly Raikkonen finished second on two of these occasions, meaning he retained his championship lead by two points.

At Monaco Ralf Schumacher took pole, but it was Montoya who won the race, despite heavy pressure from Raikkonen. Schumacher qualified P5 and finished a strong P5.

At Canada R. Schumacher took another pole and Williams front row lock-out, but it was Schumacher (the other one) who took the win, by only seven tenths from his younger brother, Montoya as close to his team-mate. Raikkonen recovered from P20 in qualifying to claim a point in P6.

Then out of nowhere Ralf Schumacher won two races and it was two Williams 1-2's, leaving everyone shell-shocked.

The next race was a classic at Silverstone, Barrichello winning from pole but it was overtaking galore, Montoya second and Raikkonen third. With five rounds to go five drivers (in order: Schumacher, Raikkonen, Montoya, Schumacher (R), Barrichello) were separated by twenty points, all with a shout for the title.

In the opening lap in Germany Raikkonen, R. Schumacher and Barrichello eliminated themselves in turn one, leaving a golden oppotunity for Montoya, who took the win with ease (1 minute + winning margin) from Coulthard, and Jarno Trulli claiming P3.

At Hungary Fernando Alonso won from pole in just his 30th start in F1, Raikkonen finishing second with the Williams duo 3-4. The top three (Schumacher, Montoya and Raikkonen) were just separated by two points with three rounds to go.

However Schumacher finally struck back at Monza, taking the win from pole, but Montoya crucially second, Raikkonen also scoring in P4.

In a rainy race Schumacher nearly secured his title, winning the race, Montoya out of the race in P6. By finishing P2 Raikkonen had the slimmest chances of winning. If he won at Suzuka, and Schumacher failed to score, then he would win the title.

At Japan Schumacher qualified P14 and retired in the damp conditions, leaving a 1% chance of Raikkonen winning the title who qualified P8 in the rain. He drove excellently to P2, but could not hunt down Barrichello, finishing the championship just two points behind Schumacher.

DRIVERS STANDINGS (POINTS/WINS)

1. Schumacher (GER) - 93/6

2. Raikkonen (FIN) - 91/1

3. Montoya (COL) - 82/2

CONSTRUCTORS CHAMPIONS: FERRARI

RACE OF THE SEASON: BRAZIL (WON BY FISICHELLA)

2004: SCHUMACHER'S SEVENTH HEAVENTH

Schumacher Winning In Hungary, 2004

2004 was the return of Ferrari domination. Williams and McLaren both suffered from engine problems, eliminating themselves from any chances of winning. In fact the main challengers were Fernando Alonso of Renault and Jenson Button of BAR, who scored an amazing ten podiums.

Schumacher started the season by winning five races in a row, three of them Ferrari 1-2's. Button and the Renault's consisent scoring mean't that there was a challenge for the second spot in the championship, but already the title looked like it was Schumachers.

And of course Monaco provided an epic race: a duel between two drivers for their first win. Jarno Trulli of Renault took a surprise pole, Jenson Button an excellent second, and the two battled for the win throughout the race, but the Italian won his first race, with many drivers including Schumacher and Montoya crashing out, Barrichello a very distant third.

Schumacher then won seven races in a row. Seven. Barrichello finished on the podium for six of those, with Raikkonen, Alonso and Button the main challengers.

The next round was Spa, and finally Schumacher's run was over. Jarno Trulli took another pole, but it was Kimi Raikkonen who drove a great race to beat the two Ferrari's for the win, the first for McLaren in 2004, but Schumacher finishing second mean't he won the title.

At Monza Barrichello took pole and him and Schumacher battled for the win, with the Brazilian taking his first win of 2004, Button another podium.

At China Barrichello took another pole and it was an excellent race between him, Button and Raikkonen, Schumacher nowhere. It ended in that order, separated by just 1.4 seconds.

At Suzuka Schumacher bounced back, winning from pole, leading every lap from his brother in second, Button yet another third place.

At the final race of the season Barrichello took pole but it was a battle between Montoya and Raikkonen for the win, the former winning his first race of the season.

DRIVERS STANDINGS (POINTS/WINS)

1. Schumacher (GER) - 148/13

2. Barrichello (BRA) - 114/2

3. Button (GBR) - 85/0

CONSTRUCTORS CHAMPIONS: FERRARI

RACE OF THE SEASON: MONACO (WON BY TRULLI)

2005: FERNANDO LEADS THE WAY

Alonso Leading Raikkonen

2005 marked the end of Ferrari dominance in a rather big way. Ferrari and Schumacher were absolutely nowhere compared to Renault and McLaren, winning just one race, and between Barrichello and the defending champion just eight podiums. Crazy stuff F1.

Round One: Australia. Fisichella took the pole for Renault and faced some challenge but won the race, his second of his career. Barrichello and Alonso closely fought for second, but if finished in that order.

At the next race Alonso took pole and won in Malaysia, Jarno Trulli a great second for his new team, Toyota, plus Nick Heinfeld scoring his first podium with Williams in third.

At Bahrain Alonso continued Renault's dominance, taking pole and winning the race, but faced a challenge from Trulli yet again in the Toyota, finishing second, Raikkonen claiming McLaren's first podium. Ralf Schumacher made it a Toyota 2-4. Montoya was sidelined with injury, leaving Pedro De La Rosa to finish a decent P5.

At Imola Alonso and Schumacher battled for the win, the Spaniard beating the defending champion by two tenths. Alexander Wurz, the other replacement for JPM taking a excellent P3.

A pulverising opening stint from pole saw Raikkonen fulfill the promise of Imola, winning the race from Alonso and Trulli.

A second crushing win for Raikkonen laid down the gauntlet, winning the race from pole at Monaco from Nick Heinfeld and Mark Webber, making it a double Williams podium, the first for the Australian.

Alsono won in Germany but Kimi came back to win in Canada, the two rookies trading punches.

At the USA Michelin race runners had to not start the race due to danger with the long-banked corners, leaving just six cars to race, Schumacher leading a Ferrari 1-2.

At France, Alonso was untouchable, leading every lap from pole, but Raikkonen importantly second, doing damage limitation, Schumacher third.

Montoya's problematic season with McLaren ended with a win at Silverstone, fending off Alonso for 1st place, Raikkonen third.

'Kimi's pain is Fernando's gain' was Autosport's headline. Raikkonen took pole and lead for most of the race, but for the third time this season he retired whilst leading the race, gifting Alonso the win, Montoya second, Button finishing third for his first podium of the season. Surely the title was Alonso's with six rounds to go.

Kimi struck back at Hungary, winning the race from Schumacher, Alonso failing to finish, Ralf in third for Toyota.

It was McLaren v Renault at Turkey, with the Finn leading every lap from pole, Alonso finishing second though, Montoya close behind in third.

For the first time in over a decade Ferrari failed to score any points, ironically at Monza. Montoya led every lap from pole to win his second race of the season, Alonso and Fisichella completing the podium, Raikkonen finishing P4 from P11 due to a engine penalty. Alonso now had a 27 point lead.

Montoya took pole in heavy rain conditions at Spa but Kimi, someone who loves Spa overtook on Lap 33 when Montoya tangled with a backmarker, gifting Raikkonen the win from Alonso in second and Button in third. With three rounds to go it was nearly impossible for Raikkonen to win.

At Brazil Alonso won the title, only finishing P3 though, it was a McLaren 1-2, Montoya winning.

At Japan it was arguably the greatest drive in F1 history. Raikkonen, qualifying P17 due to changing conditions, but the Finn drove though the field in changing conditions and overtook Fisichella on the final lap to win, the greatest race of his career. Alonso, the new champion, P3.

At the final race in Shanghai Alonso led from pole and won the race from Raikkonen and Schumacher.

DRIVERS STANDINGS (POINTS/WINS)

1. Alonso (ESP) - 133/7

2. Raikkonen (FIN) - 112/7

3. Schumacher (GER) - 62/1

CONSTRUCTORS CHAMPIONS: RENAULT

RACE OF THE SEASON: SUZUKA (WON BY RAIKKONEN)

2006: ALONSO MAKES IT TWO

Alonso Overtaking Schumacher

2006 was much more close than 2005, although this time Schumacher gave it one last time to make it eight, his final season before his first retirement. The unreliability of the McLaren's meant that Raikkonen and Montoya were nowhere, and it was down to Schumacher to challenge Alonso.

In the first round in Bahrain, Schumacher and Alonso provided an enthalling opening-race duel. The two battled for the win but it was Alonso who beat pole-man Schumacher for the win. Raikkonen had an amazing race, starting for P22 the flying Finn finished P3, his team-mate P5. Button finished in a great P4 for Honda.

In Malaysia Fisichella lead home a Renault 1-2 from pole, with Button claiming a solid P3 as he began to gain momentum. Both Ferrari's suffered engine penalties, Massa P5 and Schumacher P6.

At Australia Button took a surprise pole but wasn't able to finish the race, with Alonso taking the lead. Raikkonen finished a close second but never pressured, with Ralf Schumacher claiming a podium for Toyota.

At Imola Ferrari struck back, winning from pole and convincingly beating Alonso, albeit the Spaniard was two seconds behind. Montoya claimed his first podium of the season with Massa fourth and Raikkonen fifth.

The duel between the reigning champion and the seven time champion resumed in Germany, with Alonso taking pole but Schumacher taking the win, obviously in a closely fought race. Massa finally made it onto the podium for his first podium with Ferrari, Raikkonen a solid fourth in a struggling McLaren.

The duel continued. At Spain, Alonso easily won his home race from Schumacher and was presented the trophy by King Carlos in front of 131,000 Spaniards. Fisichella made it a double podium for Reanult, Raikkonen taking the best of the rest spot in P5.

At Monaco, taking provisional pole was Schumacher until he crashed so that the session had to be stopped, relegating him to the back of the grid. Alonso started from pole and won from Montoya, with Coulthard took a podium for Red Bull, with Webber and Raikkonen retiring.

The next two results were identical. Alonso P1, Schumacher P2, Raikkonen P3, Fisichella P4 and Massa P5. Alonso now had a 25 point lead, was the title his?

Schumacher took home a Ferrari 1-2 in the USA, entirely down to tyre advantage, with Fisichella P3 and Alonso only P5.

In the next two races Schumacher won both, now mounting a serious title challenge and closed to lead to just 11 points.

Then came Hungary.

Kimi Raikkonen took pole in wet conditions and led the opening 17 laps, looking like he was heading for his first victory of 2006 until he crashed into a backmarker. Alonso then led for over thirty laps, until he retired due to a loose tyre. This left Button to complete the final eighteen laps and his maiden victory, haven started P14. Pedro De La Rosa took P2 over thirty seconds behind and Nick Heidfeld P3. Nothing changed in the championship, but it was one for the sport to remember for years to come.

Back to Back maiden victories, this time Massa, who took pole and led for most of the race, whilst five seconds behind him Alonso and Schumacher were in an intense battle, the former taking P2 and Schumacher P3. The gap was just 12 points with four rounds to go.

Then at Monza, Raikkonen took a splendid pole but it was Schumacher who delighted the Tifosi by winning the race, and it was announced then that Schumacher would retire and Raikkonen would be the one to take his seat. In only his third race, Robert Kubica took his first podium.

Somehow, Schumacher won in China too. From P6 in changing conditions he worked his way up the grid to beat Alonso to the win, stuck in P2, with Fisichella third. They were now on even points with two to go.

At Suzuka the pendulum swung again, this time in Alonso's favour. From fifth on the grid the defending champion drove superbly, winning the race and beating Massa convincingly, with Schumacher scoring no points. Fisichella rounded out the podium.

In the final round Massa took pole again and won his home race, but Alonso finished P2, securing the title with Schumacher fourth. Jenson Button took another podium to sum up a pretty decent year for Honda's return to the sport.

DRIVERS STANDINGS (POINTS/WINS)

1. Alonso (ESP) - 134/7

2. Schumacher (GER) - 121/7

3. Massa (BRA) - 80/2

CONSTRUCTORS CHAMPIONS: RENAULT

RACE OF THE SEASON: HUNGARY (WON BY BUTTON)

2007: RAIKKONEN FENDS OFF THE MCLAREN DUO

Raikkonen Celebrating His Win In Melbourne

In what would be one of the most controversial seasons in Formula One, Kimi Raikkonen fended off Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton at McLaren to win the championship by just one point, but it never looked like it was the Finn's title until the final rounds.

In the opening race, Raikkonen started his Ferrari career with a win from pole, also collecting the fastest lap in a dominant fashion, already stating his title ambition. Alonso and Hamilton completed the podium.

In Sepang it was Alonso's turn to take his first win for a new team, winning in a McLaren 1-2, with Raikkonen this time rounding out the top 3. Massa, starting from pole, only finished P5.

In Bahrain No.2 drivers qualified 1-2, No.1's 3-4. Massa this time used his pole position to take his first win of the season and start his championship bid, fending off Hamilton until the last minute. Raikkonen was P3, Heidfeld another P4 and Alonso only P5, struggling with his car.

A repeat Massa-Hamilton 1-2 asserted the idea that this was a four-way championship battle, with Alonso finishing in P3. Raikkonen was out of luck, an alternator braking on lap 9.

At Monaco the McLaren's were dominant, with Alonso winning the race from Hamilton, Massa a full minute behind in third. Raikkonen started from P16, doomed from the start, finished P8.

From his first pole Hamilton took his first win in Canada, but it was Nick Heidfeld who was close behind in second, Alonso and Massa nowhere. Wurz claimed P3 for Williams with Raikkonen P5.

Hamilton cranked up the McLaren inter-team rivalry by winning again in the USA, battling Alonso for most of the race, the Brit winning by just a second. Massa was third, Raikkonen P4. Ferrari needed to do something ASAP.

The Ferrari resurgence was immediate. In France Massa took pole but Raikkonen took the win in a dominant 1-2, Hamilton a distant third, with Alonso P7. Heidfeld wasn't in the championship race, but his consistent performances mean't he now had collected thirty points in eight rounds.

In what was a great race, Hamilton took pole at Silverstone but a great battle between Alonso and Raikkonen was the result, the former winning his second consecutive race to mount his championship ambitions once more, now only 18 points behind championship leader Hamilton at the halfway mark of the season. All four drivers were still in the race at this point.

In what was a bizarre race, Raikkonen took pole bit retired halfway through the race. Winkelhock debuted Spyker here, and led for six glorious laps in the horrible conditions, but Alonso took the win from Massa, with Hamilton also failing to score. Webber took a great podium for Red Bull, fending off Wurz in the Williams.

At Hungary, Alonso was given a 5 place grid penalty for holding up cars in qualifying starting P5 and finishing P4. Hamilton fended off Raikkonen throughout the race the win by less than a second, with Heidfeld in another P3.

In Turkey, Massa won again, two years on the boumce, with Raikkonen making it a Ferrari 1-2, Alonso third and Hamilton fifth. Guess who was fourth? Heidfeld.

As the Ferrari/McLaren spygate case gathered momentum, McLaren claimed a 1-2 at Monza, Alonso winning it with Raikkonen only managing P3.

At this point, Hamilton lead Alonso by three points, Raikkonen 18 points behind Hamilton. It now looked like it was the battle of the McLaren's with four rounds to go.

At Spa, it was announced that McLaren would receive a $100M fine and be DQ'ed from the Constructors championship.

At Kimi's favourite track, he took a resounding Ferrari 1-2 win, Alonso P3, Hamilton P4, adding a final gasp of momentum to Raikkonen's challenge.

In what was one of the best wet weather races of the decade, Hamilton won at Fuji to assert himself as the clear favourite for the title. Alonso retired, with Kovalienen from P11 finishing an amazing P2. Raikkonen, who was at one point dead last, somehow finished P3. Don't ask.

At China, the penultimate round, Hamilton took pole and was on his way to winning the title until his first DNF, worn tyres. This gifted Raikkonen the win and Alonso P2, the title was still Lewis's to win.

Here was what the title leaderboard looked like:

1. Hamilton - 107

2. Alonso - 103

3. Raikkonen - 100

At Brazil, three drivers could still win the title, but Hamilton was clear favourite.

Massa took pole, Lewis P2. Raikkonen and Alonso pushed him down to P4, and then a electronics glitch mean't he could only take two points. The title was now Alonso's for a brief moment, running in P3, until Raikkonen switched with Massa, the Finn taking the lead and the championship by just one point.

DRIVERS STANDINGS (POINTS/WINS)

1. Raikkonen (FIN) - 110/6

2. Alonso (ESP) - 109/4

3. Hamilton (GBR) - 109/4

CONSTRUCTORS CHAMPIONS: FERRARI

RACE OF THE SEASON: FUJI (WON BY HAMILTON)

2008: A BATTLE OF THE SECOND DRIVERS

Hamilton Overtaking Raikkonen, 2008

This time around, Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa challenged each other for the title, with defending champion Kimi Raikkonen suffering some back luck in the later stages of the championship. Due to the inter-team rivalry Fernando Alonso moved back to Renault, winning two races, with Heikki Kovalianen moving to McLaren. BMW continued their growing "best of the rest" title, behind McLaren and Ferrari.

Race One, and Hamilton and McLaren got off to a flier, taking pole and the win, with Kovalainen impressing on his debut, nearly getting a podium. Raikkonen starting P15, never got into the points. Heidfeld was P2, Rosberg P3.

Next race, Malaysia, and Ferrari bounced back. Massa took pole, spinning on Lap 30, with Raikkonen taking the win, Kubica a decent second, Kovalainen P3 and Hamilton P5.

At Bahrain Kubica took pole but Massa took the win in a Ferrari 1-2, the Pole finishing P3. Kovalainen P5, Hamilton limping home to p13.

At Spain it was another Ferrari 1-2, this time Raikkonen leading it home, and then at Turkey Massa won again with Hamilton P2 and Raikkonen P3.

At Monaco, the street circuit suited McLaren for another year, with Hamilton taking the win from Kubica and Massa.

At Canada, Hamilton took pole, but famously rammed Raikkonen and possibly his titles hopes (with heinsight), eliminating them both. This left Kubica and BMW to take a 1-2 with Heidfeld in second. All of a sudden, the Pol's maiden win propelled him into the championship lead.

Here was what it looked liked seven rounds in:

1. Kubica - 42

2. Hamilton - 38

3. Massa - 38

4. Raikkonen - 35

Round 8 and a third win for Massa at France made him championship leader, although it was Raikkonen's win throughout the race until he sustained damage later on in the race, demoting him to P2. Trulli was P3, Hamilton nowhere with Kubica a steady P5.

At Silverstone Kovalainen took pole but twas Hamilton who won on home soil in an amazing wet race, with Heidfeld in P2 and Rubens Barrichello for Honda in P3, Raikkonen a distant fourth. At the mid-season point, Raikkonen, Massa and Hamilton were all on 48 points.

At Germany Hamilton took another sensational win, with Nelson Piquet Jr. in second and Massa third, Raikkonen only P6 having qualified there.

McLaren locked out the front row in Hungary but Massa took the lead early on in the race, but Massa retired and Hamilton with a puncture, demoting him to P5, leaving Heikki Kovalainen to win his first race, with Timo Glock second and Raikkonen third, five points behind Lewis in the championship.

In Valencia Massa took the inagural win at this circuit, with Hamilton second and Kubica third, Raikkonen's engine blowing up with his championship hopes.

Spa produced controversy on which the whole championship might have hinged. Raikkonen and Hamilton collided sparring for the win late on in the race. Raikkonen retired, but Hamilton continued and won the race until he was notified of a 20 second penalty, dropping him to third, behind Massa and Heidfeld.

At Monza it was a Toro Rosso on pole in a very wet race, with Sebastian Vettel taking his first win of his career from Kovalainen and Kubica.

For Renault, the first night race was a fairytale. Massa took pole but retired due a pit stop error, and Piquet crashed, envokeing the safety car, allowing Alonso to win from Rosberg and Hamilton.

At Fuji with three rounds to go Alonso took another win, this time fair and square, with Kubica taking another podium, this time in P2, Raikkonen third. With the two title favourites not scoring. With two rounds to go Kubica was only twelve points behind Hamilton, still in contention for the title, Raikkonen out of the frame.

At China, a track which has haunted Lewis Hamilton, he won with ease, taking the win over Massa in P2 and Raikkonen in P3. He now had a 7 point lead. Surely the title was his now? We said that in 2007.

In Brazil Massa took pole, Hamilton P4. Massa easily won his home race, and at the time won the world championship, until on the final corner Lewis Hamilton overtook Timo Glock for P5, and more importantly the championship.

DRIVERS STANDINGS (POINTS/WINS)

1. Hamilton - 98/5

2. Massa - 97/6

3. Raikkonen - 75/2

RACE OF THE SEASON: BRAZIL (WON BY MASSA)

2009: BUTTON'S DOMINATION

Button In Australia, 2009

2009 saw a one-off, quite literally. Jenson Button and Brawn dominated the 2009 F1 championship, although later on in the season Red Bull became the No.1 car thanks to mid-season development.

In the opening race, Brawn qualified P1-2, Button on pole and winning the race in that order. Surprisingly the Toyota's were up next, Trulli and Glock in P3 and P4. Ferrari and McLaren were both nowhere.

At the next race Button took pole again but Rosberg led for the opening fifteen laps, but it was Button who took the win at Malaysia from Heidfeld with the Toyota's in P3 and 4 again, this time Glock taking the podium.

At China, a track which favoured the Red Bulls, Vettel took a RBR 1-

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Comments (27)
  • Hein-Harold Frentzen is underrated

    1 month ago
  • It's weird to think that Alonso could have been a five-time world champion (2005, 06, 07, 10, 12)

    1 month ago
    1 Bump
    • I think that he should have won in 2012, but in 2007 and 2010 his rivals beat him fair and square - but I get your point - weird.

      1 month ago

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