Some quick points: 1) Imola is not a "great" track by any stretch of the imagination. They ruined it after Senna's death in 1994 with the addition of all those chicanes. Way too difficult to pass and not a great technical "driver's" circuit a la Suzuka. 2) With that in mind, Alonso's ability to hold off Schumacher was mostly due to the track configuration. Had their sprint to the finish occurred on any track other than Monaco, Hungaroring, or Imola, Schumi would have passed Alonso with ease. His pace was 1-2 seconds a lap quicker throughout the race. Essentially, Schumi lost the race in qualifying due to his slight mistake. However, what is particularly impressive about his drive is that, had he been able to pass Button 1 lap earlier (that darn track configuration again.), or stay out 1 more lap than he was able to, he would have had enough of a gap to come out ahead of Alonso after his final pit stop. Even though he did not win, this was one of Michael's best drives in a while. Watching him reel in Button was a joy to behold. His pace relative to the rest of the field reminded me of his form in Hungary in '98 or Monaco in 2000.