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Schumacher beaten by charging Massa 19 Mar 2006

Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari is interviewed on the grid. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Race, Sepang, Malaysia, 19 March 2006

While Ralf also comes from behind to score points

A heavy crop of engine failures and replacements during practice and qualifying ensured a very topsy-turvy grid in Malaysia – with lots of quick cars starting right down the order.

The unfortunate Ferrari team was doubly cursed, after a spate of engine failures saw both of their drivers relegated down the order - Michael Schumacher starting the race from 14th and the Felipe Massa back in 21st.

As the red lights went out it became clear that both drivers were determined to salvage something from the weekend. By the end of the first lap, Schumacher had moved up to 10th place - while the flying Massa had passed no fewer than seven rivals to get himself into 14th.

Even so, with the Renaults and Jenson Button’s Honda moving away at the front of the pack, it still looked like a near-impossible task to bring any significant haul of points from the weekend.

As the race progressed, both drivers continued their inexorable rise up the order, with Schumacher running in sixth during the first round of pitstops, and as high as fourth during the second. Highlights of his progress through the pack included a particularly forceful move on Toyota’s Jarno Trulli - who sensibly yielded as Schumacher muscled him out of the way through turn one.

But Massa’s performance was even more impressive as he used a heavy fuel load to scythe his way through the lower order. By the time he eventually made his first stop he was running in a commendable fourth place.

As Schumacher emerged from his second pitstop the stage was set for a Ferrari formation finish in fifth and sixth - enough to bag Ferrari seven much-needed constructors’ championship points. But then the script deviated from the norm when it became clear that, to the noticeable disquiet for the Ferrari management on the pitwall, Schumacher was going to emerge just behind the flying Massa.

And, despite the best efforts of the seven-times champion in the closing stages of the race, that was the way it stayed to the flag, with the young Brazilian taking a well-deserved fifth and Schumacher following him home in sixth.

Special mention is also due to another strong run through-the-pack - with Ralf Schumacher doing something to appease for Toyota’s dismal performance in last weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix. Having started the race from 22nd and last with an engine-change penalty, he drove a strong race - blasting his way to 13th by the end of the opening lap on a very light fuel load.

Toyota’s aggressive strategy was perfectly judged, with Ralf’s three-stop strategy seeing him in eighth place when the flag dropped, bringing a single world championship point for himself and his team.