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Three postcards from the United States • AutoAddicted

2000 – Italy invades America

The passion for Formula 1 to return to racing in the United States, nine years after it was last (Phoenix, 1991), moreover, at the oldest “living” temple of motorsports, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, was heightened by the great global challenge between Michael Schumacher . McLaren led by Mika Hakkinen and Ferrari, who is chasing Michael, for the third year in a row, are two points away with three races remaining. The path obtained by exploiting the famous “circle” quarter and the inner streets of the huge basin with about 300,000 seats sees it on Saturday. Schumacher on pole position against Coulthard, Hakkinen, McLaren and teammate Barrichello.

However, the race starts on Sunday on a wet track due to the rain in the morning. The traffic lights are off and it’s already time for the first turn. Coulthard clearly moves in front of his chest, topping the lead but also stop and go 10 seconds. Before he collapsed in the standings due to the penalty kick, he tried in every way to slow Schumacher in an attempt to favor overtaking his teammate Hakkinen against him, but on the sixth lap Michael broke the delay and beat Coulthard with a big kick. A maneuver, all out of the first corner, is not without risks. The fight between Schumacher and Hakkinen continues until lap 26 when the second big ring of the race takes place, an event that will likely decide the fate of the world championship.

The Mercedes engine fitted to the Finnish McLaren, in a brilliant comeback on the German, suddenly gave way, giving Reds the go-ahead. Yes, because even Barrichello, after a difficult start, finally moved to second place. Thanks to the impressive double in America, Ferrari took the lead in both the drivers’ and constructors’ standings. In the next race, at Suzuka, Schumacher will have the opportunity to end 21 years of Ferrari’s starvation with a win.

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2003 – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The penultimate race for the World Championship: a crown ready to grab three contenders (included in the standings at just 7 points), a situation reminiscent of the famous trio in Western sauce many years before signing Sergio Leone. Saturday’s crazy qualifying sees Raikkonen in pole position, Montoya fourth and Schumacher only seventh..

On the first laps, Schumacher got off to a great start, immediately being fourth in the first corner, while Montoya, poorly, started on the third lap in an effort to recover, sending Barrichello the last into the gravel. The Colombian will continue without problems but will have to serve heavy Penalty for his enthusiasm. else The defining moment is the storm that hit the Indiana track a few laps, rain that Schumacher and Bridgestone parked, more competitive than Michelin McLaren and Williams in wet track conditions.. Schumacher’s talent does the rest and Schumacher outruns all his opponents one by one, including title contender Raikkonen through the 28th pass.

Schumacher wins and bets the title, Raikkonen in the second limits the damage and remains an athlete fighting for the world championship given the recent role in Japan. While Montoya, only sixth, curses his recklessness that is denying him a great possibility to play for the world title for the first time in his career.

2005 – Race of Shame

The ninth round of the Formula 1 world championship sees Ferrari’s identity crisis after five years of success and a close duel for the world championship between Renault Fernando Alonso and McLaren Kimi Raikkonen, ready to succeed Michael for the gold record. However, neither the Asturians nor the Finns will set off for the grand prix and with 12 other drivers, instead of lining up on the starting grid, they will return to the pit lane at the end of the poll cycle.

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One thing all ‘retired’ drivers have in common is the fact that they are fitted with Michelin tires and the fact that the latter has proven unsuitable for an entire weekend to withstand the forces generated on the tires at the last corner of the road circuit. Voluntary retirement “for reasons of reliability” pushes the Grand Prix racing into a surreal atmosphere, with only 6 cars on the track, 2 Ferraris, 2 Jordans and 2 Minardis.

To the surprise of the audience, an indecent scene was staged. Schumacher won with Ferrari his only race of the season, while Portugal’s Jordan Monteiro took his first and only podium. But there was not much to celebrate that day. The event-burnt circus definitively left Indianapolis two years later to rejoin the states in 2012 at a fantastic new location: Austin, Texas.

by Andrea Shinobi

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