This season promised so much before it actually started. Then once the first flag dropped it fell into a drearily dull and predictable mulch before controversies like Michael’s Monaco madness and the FIA’s mass-damper ban threw things wildly up the air again, and brought us back towards something approaching a classic season finale.

But what’s really brought the excitement back? Simple. H20. Buckets of the stuff at both Hungary and Shanghai. Best innovation of the year: rain!

Even things like the new qualifying system don’t make for as much fun as the odd torrential downpour. The wet stuff separates the men from the boys; the boys tending to disappear sideways into the gravel (or sideways into DC in the case of Felipe Massa).
Hungary’s spray-filled air was equally thick with chaotic excitement, and the 2006 Chinese GP was no different, with the sport’s best brains going into overdrive to snatch every advantage from the treacherous conditions.

Shanghai not only showed Schumi at his best; keeping his head, constantly adjusting and waiting for things to come to him when he couldn’t do anything else – it also showed Renault at its weakest; making an amateurish mistake of changing something that was working perfectly well, throwing Nando’s race out of the window in a single pit-stop. (It wasn’t the rear wheel change that was the real problem, it was changing wheels at all in the previous stop…)

Seeing the Michelin and Bridgestone tyres gaining and losing form, against each other and in ever-changing conditions, reminds you of what a dumb decision a single tyre supplier for 2007 is.
I’d have at least two suppliers – in fact, I’d prefer three or four. Tyres are so crucial these days and dropping all variation and competition is another drab, standardising piece of Max’s dumbing-down jigsaw.

Wet races aren’t just about tyres though, as the wildly differing wet-skills of Schumi and Nando at one end (masterful) and Massa and Speed at the other (on a par with my gran) show. And China wasn’t just about skill either, as Kimi Raikkonen (having a blindingly good run) would surely testify.
He must be dying to get to Ferrari after five years of varying levels of frustration and outright despair – although he still has to go to Suzuka and Sao Paulo first to find out what fresh hell McLaren have in store for him there…

And now it’s down to the wire. Two contenders, 116 points apiece with two races to go; one likely to favour Michelin runners and one likely to favour Birdgestone. You could see from Schumi’s unfeasibly excited bouncing at Shanghai that he wants to walk away with both those races in his pocket, having broken his China duck.

Whether he will is of course unknowable. And strangely enough, I’m not actually that bothered. I just want it to rain. Lots. That way it’ll be a finale where we all win…