Fisichella emerged apparently comfortably ahead, but immediately at Turn One ran wide where it was still damp. Schumacher was through to the lead in a blink. Fisichella’s chin then dropped.
But Alonso, just like Schumacher, was not giving up in the face of disadvantage. From being 24sec off Schumacher when the latter emerged from his final stop with 15 laps to go, he started to tear often second or more a lap out of the gap. Adding to the drama, a little more rain fell late on.
Yet Schumacher was unflinching. He likely was still in control and letting the gap fall as much as he dared. By the end he was still 3.1sec clear.
And, even better for Schumacher, as a result of his win, he for the first time that year nosed ahead in the championship table with just two races left – the pair were tied on 116 points but Schumacher was ahead on countback.
A send-off title – Schumacher had confirmed his forthcoming retirement at the previous round at Monza – looked probable.
While Alonso, in a way that wasn’t usual for him then, struck out in a number of directions. This included at his own team, particularly that Fisichella was allowed to pass him when he was struggling. He declared that “on some occasions I have felt a little alone.”
His switch in luck wasn’t far away though. A late-race engine failure for Schumacher in the subsequent Suzuka round tilted the championship decisively back in Alonso’s favour.