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Schumacher family fortunes on the rise 31 Jul 2005

The podium (L to R): Second place Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari ; Race winner Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) McLaren and third place Ralf Schumacher (GER) Toyota 
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Hungarian Grand Prix, Race Day, Hungaroring, Hungary, 31 July 2005

Michael Schumacher’s pole position in Hungary was received with scepticism in the paddock, many observers reckoning his F2005’s fuel tank had been practically dry when he set it.

Similarly, Ralf Schumacher’s unexceptional P5 qualifying performance, two places below team mate Jarno Trulli, didn’t look like the sort of thing that great race performances are made of.

After 70 laps of the Hungaroring, both brothers had proved the doubters wrong as they stood on the second and third steps of the podium, beaten only by the McLaren of the flying Kimi Raikkonen. The interesting question is whether the revival of the Schumacher family fortunes is likely to continue in the closing stages of the championship.

Michael proved his Ferrari’s considerable early race pace when he stayed out for several more laps than Raikkonen, proving that he had qualified on the heavier fuel load. In the later stages of the race he put in a dogged defence of his second place - first against the clearly quicker Raikkonen (who managed to emerge ahead after the second round of stops), and then latterly he managed to hold off Ralf’s Toyota - the brothers crossing the line just 0.5 seconds apart.

Ralf also put in a strong performance to land himself a much-needed podium, pushing hard enough to emerge ahead of team mate Trulli after they both took their first stops then inheriting third place after Montoya’s retirement.

Ralf’s performance has moved him into sixth place in the drivers’ championship, leapfrogging Rubens Barrichello - and on 32 points he’s just four adrift of Trulli, who is currently fourth.

Michael’s second place certainly helps to keep the admittedly small chance of him retaining his world championship alive. Leader Fernando Alonso’s failure to score any points means that second-placed Raikkonen has cut the Spaniard’s lead back to 26 points, with Schumacher a further six points behind.

With the promising pace demonstrated by the F2005 over the opening stages of the race, it’s certainly not inconceivable that Schumacher will be able to score heavily in the six remaining races of the season - while the longevity of the McLaren is still highly questionable.