Analysis: Schumacher Strikes Back after China Flop

Even by Michael Schumacher's standards, to qualify on pole and win your 13th race of the season in one day is almost a super-human effort.

Analysis: Schumacher Strikes Back after China Flop

Even by Michael Schumacher's standards, to qualify on pole and win your 13th race of the season in one day is almost a super-human effort.

The German bounced back from his worst finish at last month's inaugural Chinese Grand Prix to claim his sixth victory in Japan on Sunday.

Qualifying had been pushed back to the morning of the race after a violent typhoon tore through central Japan on Friday and Saturday. It made no difference to World Champion Schumacher.

"After China, Michael was determined to do well and today we saw him at his best," said Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn. "Everything worked very well and I must congratulate the whole team for putting the car together in a way that was pretty much spot-on for the race with very little prior practice."

Schumacher's 83rd career victory was a record-equalling 15th of the season for Ferrari. It came after he had recorded his 63rd pole position - two shy of Brazilian Ayrton Senna's record.

"The numbers say it all," said Ferrari team boss Jean Todt. "Fifteen wins, 13 of them with Michael, from 17 races so far. After a fantastic pole this morning, Michael dominated the race."

Shanghai Nightmare

Schumacher, who won 12 of the first 13 races of 2004, suffered a nightmare in Shanghai after a collision, a spin and a puncture relegated him to 12th place.

Despite having clinched his seventh world title in August, Schumacher had warned he would strike back in Japan. On Sunday, he demonstrated he was deadly serious.

"I had a trouble-free race," said Schumacher, who slowed down at the end but still finished 14 seconds clear of younger brother Ralf's Williams. "It is a massive achievement over quite a stressful weekend. But we deserve it. We were the quickest - simply superb."

The omens for Ferrari's rivals before the season-ending race in Brazil in two weeks look just as gloomy.

"Our will to win is as strong as ever," said Todt. "Even though we have hit all the targets we set ourselves...and our team has set so many new records, we want to end the season on a high."

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