Alonso wins German GP, gets closer to world title
25 July 2005, HOCKENHEIM, GERMANY - Fernando Alonso took a huge step towards the Formula One world title on Sunday when a Germany curse of rival Kimi Raikkonen gifted him victory at the German Grand Prix. The Renault driver Alonso was assured of first place once Raikkonen had to retire in the 35th of 67 laps in leading position with what team boss Ron Dennis named a hydraulics failure. Juan Pablo Montoya salvaged at least some pride for McLaren when he fought from last place on the grid to second on the po
25 July 2005
HOCKENHEIM, GERMANY - Fernando Alonso took a huge step towards the Formula One world title on Sunday when a Germany curse of rival Kimi Raikkonen gifted him victory at the German Grand Prix.
The Renault driver Alonso was assured of first place once Raikkonen had to retire in the 35th of 67 laps in leading position with what team boss Ron Dennis named a hydraulics failure.
Juan Pablo Montoya salvaged at least some pride for McLaren when he fought from last place on the grid to second on the podium, 22 seconds off the pace. Jenson Button came third in a BAR-Honda.
Alonso increased his lead over Raikkonen in the drivers standings from 26 to 36 points after 12 of 19 races.
"There are 70 points to race for and I am ahead by 36. I hope that we keep on finishing races, then it will be very difficult (for others) to recover the deficit," said Alonso.
"McLaren were a little faster all weekend. We have to improve our car to beat them. But a race is over 70 laps and not 30, you have to finish," he said.
Raikkonen has never finished a race in Hockenheim.
The incident came less than two months after Raikkonen also crashed out in first place in the final lap of the European Grand Prix at the other German venue, the Nurburgring, with Alonso winning there as well.
"What can I say. It is disappointing," said Raikkonen, with team boss Ron Dennis speaking of "another week of pain".
Renault boss Flavio Briatore spoke of a great weekend for everyone on the team and like Alonso expressed cautious optimism regarding the title.
"We work very hard to finish each race. The victory is a good step, but there is still a long way to go," Briatore said.
Alonso moved closer to his first career world title with his sixth victory of the season and seventh overall.
Alonso has 87 points, with Raikkonen a distant second with 51 and world champion Michael Schumacher third on 47 after having to settle for fifth Sunday on home ground.
"No one should mention my name again in this fight," said the seven-time champion Schumacher, writing himself off for good.
To make things worse for Raikkonen, he will be the first driver out in qualifying next week in Hungary, which is seen as a big disadvantage. Alonso will go out last which normally offers the best conditions.
By the time Alonso took the chequered flag in 1 hour 26 minutes 28.599 seconds for the 67 laps over 306.458 kilometres, Raikkonen had already fled the race track.
Raikkonen was in a must-win situation given his championship deficit on Alonso, and made the most of his pole position at the start.
The Finn was never troubled while Alonso moved from third on the grid to second at the first turn and world champion Michael Schumacher from fifth to third in a Ferrari. Button dropped from second to fourth.
Montoya, who crashed out in qualifying, made a rapid recovery, up from 20 to 11 after the first lap and to fifth at the halfway mark, but Raikkonen's latest mishap then ended all McLaren hopes and Alonso drove a lonely race up front until the end.
"The car was perfect from start to finish. But it was not enough to follow Kimi. I thought that second would be the best result. After he retired it was a little boring winning with a big gap," he said.
A good team strategy helped Montoya to second place while Button and Giancarlo Fisichella in the second Renault overtook Schumacher on the track to deny him a podium place. Ralf Schumacher was sixth in a Toyota, David Coulthard seventh in a Red Bull and Sauber-Petronas driver Felipe Massa also in the points in eighth place.
"We should have won the race, but at least I managed to bring the car back to the podium from 20," said Montoya.
Subject: German news