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Schumacher on top after win in Shanghai
2006-10-01 05:42:22 Xinhua English

SHANGHAI, Oct. 1 (Xinhua) -- Ferrari's Michael Schumacher snatched a thrilling victory in the Chinese Grand Prix on Saturdayto take the championship lead with just two races of the season remaining.

Michael Schumacher (C)is welcomed by Ferrari crew afterhe won the F1 Chinese Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit in Shanghai, China onOct. 1, 2006. (Photo: Yahoo.com) Photo Gallery>>

Spanish world champion Fernando Alonso, who started from pole, took second place from his Renault teammate Giancarlo Fisichella eight laps from the end. Fisichella finished third.

Schumacher's first victory in Shanghai means he is now level onpoints with Alonso, but stands top having won one more race than the Spaniard this season.

"It is quite miraculous that we are here back in front after where we were a few months ago, but it is thanks to great work from everybody in the team that we have managed it," said a grinning Schumacher.

"Now we go to the last two races. I believe that we will have to wait to the last before a decision can be reached. I really look forward to it," he added.

The seven-time world champion conquered a tricky track, dampened by heavy rain before the race, and the sixth place from the starting grid for the victory, a real boost to his title hope before retirement.

Alonso had made the ideal start as he stormed into the lead after the first lap. By the fourth lap he was 13 seconds ahead of Schumacher, who was back in sixth as the track started to dry out.

But Schumacher soon picked up the pace and moved all the way upto third by the lap 20.

Alonso's bid to win the race was effectively ended by crucial errors in his pit stops, having first been left with little grips that left him chasing a huge gap.

When Schumacher snatched the lead from Fisichella when the Italian went wide at the first corner after his second pit stop, asecond place was the best result for Alonso to strive for.

"The winner is Michael and he deserves the victory. Today we lost a big opportunity," said Alonso.

"We have to look at the positives and see that we were very competitive and there are two races to go."

But Renault moved to top the constructorí»s standings, one point ahead of Ferrari, thanks to their racers' double podium finish.

Fourth on Sunday was Jenson Button in a Honda, followed by Pedro de la Rosa of Maclaren.

Honda's Rubens Barrichello and BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld endedin sixth and seventh respectively while Williams' Mark Webber tookthe final point in eighth place.

It was Schumacher's seventh victory of the season and the 91st of his career. By doing so, he also refreshed his memory about theShanghai track where he came 12th in 2004 and finished dead last in 2005.

Seven races ago, Alonso led by 25 points after winning six of the first nine races of the season. Since then, Schumacher snatched five victories. Enditem

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