Chinese Grand Prix: Schumacher spins out as Shanghai bad luck returns

Michael Schumacher's 2005 finale was a dismal ending to a season he'd rather forget.

The seven-time world champion's Shanghai woes resurfaced at the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday when he was forced to start from the pit lane after a pre-race collision. Then, 22 laps into the race, he spun-out and calmly walked off the track.

Shumacher's dead-last finish marked the seventh time in this year's 19-race season that he's missed out on points.

Schumacher was making his way to the grid 30 minutes before the start when he veered left and was plowed into from behind by Minardi's Christijan Albers. The accident left Shumacher's front left wheel badly askew, blackened his Ferrari's chassis and shredded his rear tire.

Shumacher said he had been warming up his tires when "suddenly I felt a big bang." Race stewards issued Shumacher a reprimand for causing the accident.

Scrambling back to his garage, Schumacher started from the pit lane in a backup car and had moved up to 10th place when he spun-out on the gentle eighth turn. Cold, worn tires were to blame, he said.

Driver's champion Fernando Alonso won the race to clinch the constructors' title for his Renault team. Shumacher's teammate, Rubens Barrichello won in Shanghai last year, but finished 12th on Sunday, ensuring that Ferrari received no points at all.

Despite the mishaps, Shumacher held on to his third place standing in the drivers' championship with 62 points, a marvel considering the season's troubles, but still his worst showing since finishing fifth in 1999.

The German has won just once this year _ at the U.S. Grand Prix in June where seven of the ten teams withdrew due to concerns over the safety of their Michelin tires. Shumacher's difficulties seem to date from last year's inaugural Chinese Grand Prix, when he finished a dismal 12th.

Schumacher started the 2004 race from the end of the pit lane _ 19th out of 20 cars _ after spinning out in Saturday's qualifying, then got stuck in traffic. He was bumped by Jaguar's Christian Klien, spun in the 15th lap, shredded a tire and was forced to make an extra pit stop. It was the first time Shumacher had finished out of the points in a season in which he won 13 out of 18 races, AP reports.


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