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The fourth round of the 2006 season was held at Imola on 23rd April. The first three races had been won by Renault – 2 with Fernando Alonso and 1 with Giancarlo Fisichella – and the French team were aiming for a hat trick. However, in qualifying, Michael Schumacher produced one of his trademark laps to take pole ahead of the Honda duo of Button and Barrichello. In the other Ferrari, Felipe Massa started fourth ahead of Alonso, the latter still considered favourite for the win by the experts.
In the race, Schumacher showed all his technical acumen, combined with running the race at a qualifying pace, to a victory that confounded all expectations. After the first pit stops, the Ferrari man throttled back a bit to save the tyres, while Alonso in the wake of the 248 F1, used his tyres more, with repeated but unsuccessful attacks on the German. As he pitted again, Schumacher put in a very quick lap which saw him emerge in front of the Spaniard again. At the finish, the German won by just over 2 seconds, giving a maiden win to the 056 V8 2.4 litre engine, which would stay in service until the end of last year.