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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 October 2006, 18:48 GMT 19:48 UK
Brazilian GP as it happened
Final positions after 71 of 71 laps:

1 F Massa (Ferrari)

2 F Alonso (Renault)

3 J Button (Honda)

4 M Schumacher (Ferrari)

5 K Raikkonen (McLaren)

6 G Fisichella (Renault)

7 R Barrichello (Honda)

8 P De La Rosa (McLaren)

LATEST ACTION (all times BST)

Lap 71: Massa crosses the finish line to the roar of the huge home crowd at Interlagos but the season's honours go to second-placed Alonso, while Button claims third. At 25, Alonso becomes the youngest driver to claim back-to back world titles and really had to work for it in this nail-biting showdown.

Schumacher might have finished off the podium but the Ferrari driver really showed why he is truly one of Formula One's greatest drivers. Despite mechanical problems in qualifying and a puncture early on in the race the German never gave up, producing a tremendous fightback to claim fourth.

Lap 69: Schumacher is certainly going out in style as he goes wheel-to-wheel with Raikkonen up the hill to turn one. The German just has the pace to take him on the inside and claim fourth. But, with four laps to go, can he clinch a podium place?

"He was ducking and diving because he knows Fisichella is weak in this area and gets past him"
BBC Sport analyst Maurice Hamilton

Lap 63: A mistake by Fisichella could cost Renault the constructors'' title as Schumacher outwits the team's second driver on turn one and slip inside into fifth. The Ferrari driver now has Raikkonen in his sights and he continues his thrilling fight back from the brink.

A win looks out of the question but Schumacher can smell a podium place if he plays his cards right.

"This battle between Fisichella and Schumacher is edging them ever so closer to Raikkonen, reducing the gap by several tenths of a seconds
BBC Sport analyst Maurice Hamilton

Lap 59: Schumacher is really putting the pressure on fifth-placed Fisichella and is less than half a second behind the Italian.

"There's all sorts of battles on as everyone is going for it in the last race of the season"
BBC Sport analyst Maurice Hamilton

Lap 55: Massa remains comfortably in the lead and the brink on a victory on home turf - of course this could all change if Schumacher unbelievably continues his charge. Alonso is 26.7 seconds behind in second after coming out of the pits just ahead of Button, who is held up by one of the Midlands.

Lap 51: Barrichello makes a valiant effort to hold off Schumacher, but falls foul of his former Ferrari team-mate at notorious overtaking spot on turn one. The German is back up to sixth and still giving it his all.

"Fisichella will have to watch out because Michael is just flying"
BBC Sport analyst Maurice Hamilton

Lap 47: Schumacher comes into the pits after taking over sixth from Barrichello, who came in the lap before. He returns to the track in traffic but gets ahead of Pedro de la Rosa in ninth.

Lap 43: Schumacher has Barrichello in his sights and reduced the gap from 12 seconds to eight seconds. Alonso surely must be having a few anxious thoughts right now.

Lap 40: Schumacher is really giving the fans something to remember with a fantastic comeback at Interlagos. The seven-times world champion is racing out of his skin, taking Kubica for seventh place. It's worth remembering this race is far from over.

Lap 36: A long pit stop for De La Rosa sees the Spaniard, on a one-stop strategy, slump from second to 10th as Alonso is up to second behind Massa. Schumacher is still refusing to give up and is clawing his way back into contention. The German has pulled off a series of flying laps and is up to eighth.

"He's just giving it everything because he has nothing to lose - last race this season, last race in F1"
BBC Sport analyst Maurice Hamilton

Lap 33: Massa looks on course for a home victory in stark contrast to Ferrari team-mate Schumacher, who's up to 10th. The Brazilian has a 20-second lead over Pedro de la Rosa, while Alonso is a further 0.6 seconds behind.

Meanwhile Kubica seems to have lost part of his front wing after an earlier skirmish with Toro Rosso's Vitantonio Liuzzi, who tried to pull off a similar move to Button's move on Raikkonen.

Lap 29: A brilliant move by Button on turn one sees the Briton sling past the inside of Raikkonen into fourth. Raikkonen pays the price for not taking his eyes off the prize, failing to spot Button's threat.

Lap 26: Button gets out of the pits ahead of Fisichella and Honda team-mate Barrichello to claim seventh.

Lap 21: Raikkonen, Fisichella and Barrichello make their first pit stops, leaving Alonso to take second place behind Massa.

Lap 18: Pole-sitter Massa is still comfortably in front with a 10-second lead over Kimi Raikkonen, while Alonso remains in third as he moves closer to his second straight world title. Further down the order, Schumacher is in 17th with all the cars behind him retired.

So far the retirements are Nico Rosberg, Mark Webber, Ralf Schumacher, Jarno Trulli and David Coulthard.

Lap 12: Toyota join Williams in the disaster stakes as both cars are out of the race. Ralf Schumacher came into the pits in lap nine while team-mate Trulli also left the race two laps later. However this is good news for BMW Sauber, which is now assured of fifth place in the constructors' championship.

Lap 10: After 11 seconds in the pits replacing the puncture, Schumacher is back on the track way down the order in 20th. Ferrari seem to believe Schumacher's car may not have touched Fisichella's and the puncture could have been caused by debris on the track. This debate could run and run.

Lap nine: Calamity for Schumacher as the German gets past Fisichella at turn one but appears to receive the slightest of touches from the Renault driver and earns a rear puncture. It looks like his slim title hopes are well and truly over as his car slowly limps into the pits.

"It's such a shame as Schumacher made a really good move round the outside of the Fisichella on turn one"
BBC Sport analyst Maurice Hamilton

Lap six: The safety car has come in and it remains to be seen whether Jarno Trulli, Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella can hold off Schumacher's charge. Meanwhile, Massa is still blazing away at the front.

"Schumacher's really all over the back of Fisichella at the moment"
Honda test driver Anthony Davidson

Lap five: It's a still safety-car conditions as stewards clear up the mess from Rosberg's earlier accident. But Williams are left to rue a miserable end to their disappointing season as both cars are already out of the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Lap two: It's a great start for Schumacher - he's already up to seventh after also passing brother Ralf. But the race is over for Williams as Nico Rosberg's car touches the back of team-mate Mark Webber. Rosberg then was heading to the pits but had a big off on the penultimate corner, while Webber is also out.

Lap one: The final race of the season is under way. Felipe Massa gets off to a great start, soaring away from pole. But all eyes are on Schumacher, who already got past Robert Doornbos and Nick Heidfeld.

"I just have a feeling that something weird is going to happen today"
Honda test driver Anthony Davidson

1800: The parade lap is under way. The track temperature is 46C and rising.

"The good thing with Schumacher problems in qualifying is that is he going to have to go for it and win"
BBC Sport analyst Maurice Hamilton

1751: The teams are making their final preparations and the drivers are putting on their helmets as just nine minutes remain before the start of the race.

1747: From one legend to another, footballing great Pele is on the track to hand a special trophy to Schumacher in front of a delighted crowd. You can't beat that for a pre-race boost but will the Ferrari driver have Pele's winning touch today?

1740: With 40 minutes to go, the air temperature Sao Paulo is 25C with humidity of 53%, while the track temperature is up to 45C.

The 4.309km circuit is not only a demanding track but also one of the most atmospheric venue on the F1 calendar. Huge crowds have turned out to witness this title-deciding showdown and see Schumacher's last hurrah.

1732: The pit lane opens and the cars begin to leave to form up on the dummy grid.

1724: Fernando Alonso might need only a point to ensure the title is his, but many F1 fans will be dwelling on the imminent departure of a sporting great. Schumacher heads into his final race for Ferrari with host of honours.

The German has won seven world titles, including five consecutive championships between 2000 and 2004. He already has 91 Grand Prix wins under his belt, 40 more than the second highest achieved by Alain Prost.

He's also managed 154 podium finishes and claimed 68 pole positions from 250 qualifying sessions.

1705: With just 55 minutes to go, it's a fine, dry day in Sao Paulo as the drivers gear up for the dramatic conclusion to the 2006 world title race.

Michael Schumacher will start 10th on the grid, having avoided a engine change and a potential 10-place penalty after Saturday's mechanical difficulties in final qualifying.


Pre-race build-up:

The final chapter in a thrilling Formula One season gets under way in Sao Paulo, with Renault's Fernando Alonso hoping to wrap his second straight world crown.

The 25-year-old, who starts fourth on the grid, is 10 points clear of championship rival Michael Schumacher and hoping to become the youngest driver to claim back-to-back titles.

But don't rule out Schumacher just yet - the Ferrari driver is set to retire from Formula One after this race but could still go out in a blaze of glory.

However, he must win on Sunday with Alonso out of the points - which go down to eighth place - to seal an unprecedented eighth championship.

Schumacher starts 10th on the grid after another Ferrari mechanical failure during the last part of Saturday's qualifying.

It was a major disappointment for the German, who had clawed himself back into title contention after being 25 points behind Alonso at the end of June, only to write off his chances after the Japanese Grand Prix two weeks ago when engine failure left him trailing Alonso again.

Meanwhile, team-mate Felipe Massa will start from pole position in front of his home crowd and is joined on the front row by McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen, who replaces Schumacher at Ferrari next season.



SEE ALSO
Brazilian Grand Prix photos
22 Oct 06 |  Motorsport
Schumacher hailed as 'greatest'
22 Oct 06 |  Formula One
Schumacher suffers in qualifying
21 Oct 06 |  Formula One
Schumi rues another Ferrari blow
21 Oct 06 |  Formula One
Schumacher gains Sao Paulo edge
20 Oct 06 |  Formula One
Brazilian GP qualifying as it happened
21 Oct 06 |  Formula One
Interlagos, Brazil
17 Feb 06 |  Circuit Guide


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