mayo 09, 2005

Dominant Raikkonen wins from Alonso

Dominant Raikkonen wins from AlonsoKimi, AlonsoSpanish GP - Race

There was no question who was going to win the 66-lap Spanish Grand Prix as after just a handful of laps Kimi Raikkonen had left his rivals in his wake and had a firm grasp on the race. His McLaren Mercedes ran flawlessly and the Finn eased home nearly half a minute ahead of Championship leader Fernando Alonso. Job done.

"The car was perfect, everything went well and I did not even have to push to top speed," Raikkonen admitted. "I won easily and I am very happy for myself and all the other people who work so hard for the team. Now we have to start winning more."

Alonso pushed hard all race long but it was clear in those opening laps that he did not have an answer to the blistering pace being set by Raikkonen. With nearly every one of the 115,000 fans at the circuit supporting their countryman Alonso, it will be a disappointment to him and Renault that they did not have the speed to battle for the win.

"I was a bit conservative with the tyres and I didn't feel good," said Alonso. "But after about 25 laps it started to feel better and by then it was too late to push hard because Kimi was too far away in front of me."

Jarno Trulli finished in a fine third position for Toyota with team- mate Ralf Schumacher pushing him right until the very last turn of the last lap as he tried to secure his first podium for Toyota. The team did not have race-winning pace at Circuit de Catalunya today, but no did one but Raikkonen. The Cologne –based team will be very happy with third and fourth positions as they look to retain their second position in the Constructors’ Championship.

Giancarlo Fisichella was very unfortunate in this event. Running second with Fernando Alonso firmly in his mirrors, the luck-less Italian seemed to lose part of his front wing. A 35 second stop ensued and that was effectively his race for the podium done and dusted. Fisichella fought back well, making a nice move on Mark Webber to claim fifth position in the closing stages and taking the fastest lap of the race in the process.

Mark Webber had a race that seems to typify his season. Starting second on the grid his BMW Williams did not get away from the line well and exiting turn one he found himself demoted to fourth position. Jarno Trulli would later pass in the pitstop and late in the race Fisichella blew by for fifth. A sixth position after starting second underlines that the team lack race pace and that Webber’s qualifying skill is masking problems with the FW27 package.

Juan Pablo Montoya bided his time early in the race and recovered from a spin early on. His race for the podium came to an end when he pitted for fuel only for the nozzle to refuse to deliver the much needed petrol. A few laps later he was back in the pits and this time everything went to plan. The Colombian, who sat out the last two races due to injury, brought home two points for McLaren Mercedes with his seventh position.

David Coulthard claimed the final point for the Red Bull Cosworth team as he held off Rubens Barrichello to give the new team points in their fifth successive race. Team-mate Vitantonio Liuzzi had a race to forget as he spun out of contention early in the race.

Over at Ferrari, it was nothing short of a disaster. Michael Schumacher started in eighth position and ran consistently in the opening laps and then stayed on track in his now familiar style when his rivals pitted. Running third Schumacher suddenly jinked into the pits with a left rear Bridgestone puncture. With the tyre replaced he emerged on track to battle with Raikkonen who was lapping him and Montoya for position. Heading into the first turn on his very next lap his front left Bridgestone failed. Schumacher brought the F2005 back to the pits and stepped out of the car. Two tyres failures for whether reason is not an every day occurrence and the team leave Spain with no points as Rubens Barrichello finished out of the points in ninth.

Nick Heidfeld, like Barrichello starting at the back due to an engine change, had a rather low-key race to tenth underlining the lack of pace the BMW Williams package has in race conditions.

Felipe Massa was classified in 11th position in his Sauber Petronas but he finished his race two laps from the end when his left rear Michelin tyre failed. Sauber team-mate Jacques Villeneuve retired from the race with mechanical woes while Jordan filled the final two positions with Tiago Monteiro passing team-mate Narain Karthikeyan early on in the race and holding the position to the chequered flag.

Neither Minardi finished the race and in fact the Safety Car had to be deployed to move the stricken cars off the grid at the start of the race. The Minardi squad reset everything and let the two racers lose two laps down. Friesacher soon found a gravel trap at high speed in what has been very poor weekend for him while Christijan Albers lasted little longer before retiring. Minardi seem to have made little progress despite the PS05 being such a better car than its predecessor.

The Formula One circus, minus BAR Honda, pack up and head to Monte Carlo and the Monaco Grand Prix. It is clear that McLaren have had speed with Raikkonen but now that speed has been realised, Renault have a team to challenge them to the title.