Alonso holds off Schumacher in race of drama

"At the beginning of the season the Canadian Grand Prix was on my 'to do' list, Fernando Alonso admitted, and yesterday, just as he had done in Spain, Monte Carlo and England, he put a big red tick against another major race. His fourth victory on the trot - and his sixth in another runaway season, further extended his lead over arch-rival Michael Schumacher in the fight to retain his crown.

Behind him, a lousy day in the pits kept Kimi Raikkonen on his toes on an afternoon when McLaren-McLaren looked likely to repeat their 2005 triumph, and as Schumacher did everything he could to exploit his misfortune.

It did not take long for drama to unfold. It began when the rookie Nico Rosberg, fighting to maintain fifth place under pressure from Juan Pablo Montoya, missed his braking for the final corner and ran over the run-off area at the end of the opening lap. As he lost momentum, Montoya hounded him until Turn 4, where they touched, the German spinning his Williams into the wall. Meanwhile, Tiago Monteiro had spun his Midland-F1 further round the lap, at the hairpin, after colliding with team-mate Christijan Albers. Out came the safety car for two laps as Rosberg's car was craned away.

On the restart Alonso sped away again with Raikkonen in pursuit. Having jumped the original start and then lifted off, Giancarlo Fisichella had dropped back to third and was soon handed a drive-through penalty which he took on the seventh lap, dropping only to fifth behind Jarno Trulli and Michael Schumacher. Soon he was threatening both.

Up the road, Raikkonen entertained similar ideas with Alonso, and on the 11th lap the two of them went side-by-side down to the last corner. The Spaniard kept his nerve and his lead, but though he then pulled out a small lead he was the first to pit for fuel, on the 23rd lap. It was thus clear that McLaren were genuine challengers for victory, especially as Raikkonen did not stop until lap 25. Alas, there was a problem with his right rear wheel, and any hope he had of taking the lead evaporated. For the time being, Alonso was safe.

For a while Schumacher kept them company, not stopping until the 32nd lap as Ferrari pursued a different strategy. It was clear the fight for the lead was between the Renault and the McLaren at this stage, but they had another stop to come, whereas Ferrari did not. The real battle, for Raikkonen at any rate, lay ahead.

Throughout the second phase of the race Alonso had complete control, maintaining his lead between seven and nine seconds. Schumacher was still 23 seconds behind the Finn, but lapping at the same pace as the leaders.

The key pit stops enlivened an otherwise dull affair when Alonso came in on lap 50, losing the lead to Raikkonen but staying well clear of Schumacher. The real debate was whether the German could jump the Finn for second place. He duly stopped on the 53rd lap, and yet again there was drama, this time as his Mercedes engine stalled, In a nailbiter, he just got out of the lengthy pit lane exit ahead of the Ferrari, setting up a cliff-hanging ending. The German sensationally found the pace to sneak past Raikkonen on lap 69 - but by then Alonso was already well on his way to victory.

It was another miserable outing for Jenson Button' Honda. After running in the top six early on, he fell victim to the single-stop strategies of Ferrari and Sauber-BMW, and finished a lap down in ninth place, out of the points.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?