Alonso widens gap as Raikkonen judders to a halt
"It's always terrible to retire from a race, but to retire whilst in the lead with a good gap to the number two car is even worse," Raikkonen managed to say.
For Fernando Alonso, second up until that point, this was indeed a gift from the gods. Raikkonen had been set to pull back two of the 26 points that separated them in their title quest going into the race; now the gap is 36. On the slowing-down lap, the Spaniard took both hands from the wheel of his Renault to give his now customary summary of his 2005 victory tally. All five digits on the right hand, plus one on the left.
After Raikkonen won the start from pole, Alonso slotted into second ahead of Michael Schumacher, who beat both Jenson Button and Giancarlo Fisichella to the first corner. But as Raikkonen crossed the start/finish line at the end of lap 35, the timing revealed he had lost two seconds of an 11.5sec lead in one lap; the Finn made it as far as Turn 5 on his 36th lap before his McLaren rolled to a stop with the same loss of hydraulic pressure that had stopped his team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya in France.
"We saw McLaren dominate this weekend and knew it would be tough to beat them in the race," Alonso said, "even though our pace was closer than in qualifying. So to win here is a good surprise but we all know the race is 70 laps long [well, 67, actually], and you don't get prizes for being fastest until half-distance."
An excellent drive from the back of the grid redeemed Montoya after his spin in qualifying, but had Button not been bottled up behind Schumacher Snr for several laps the Englishman could have given him a better run for his money.
Third place for Button cemented one of his finest performances, which culminated in him passing Schumacher in the hairpin on the 45th lap. It was further proof that the 25-year-old is ready to win when he gets his hands on the right car.
"It's fantastic to be back on the podium," he said. "I don't need to tell anyone what a tough season this has been for us and it's a great feeling to come away from here with a trophy for the guys who've worked so hard to get us up there today. I didn't get a great start and Michael was able to pass me. I worried I might not be able to catch him but then he seemed to lose a bit of pace and I just kept pushing until I had my chance."
Schumacher later lost fourth place to Fisichella. By the finish, the world champion had his mirrors full of the Toyota of his brother, Ralf, and David Coulthard's Red Bull. How the mighty have fallen.
Three weeks ago as I drove off the Eurostar, I remember thinking what a very long time it was until ...
by Martin Ayres
23 May 2013 05:29 PM
McDowell did brilliantly to land the World Match Play title in Bulgaria last week, but it’s a format...
by Gareth Purnell
23 May 2013 09:13 AM
Wow - what a weekend for British Motorcycle racing!
by Luke Wilkins
22 May 2013 05:00 AM
David Moyes delighted after Rio Ferdinand agrees to stay at Manchester United with new one-year contract
On-loan goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois still believes in Chelsea youth policy
After racist remark, Sergio Garcia fights for reputation as Tiger Woods slams 'hurtful' fried chicken joke
Manuel Pellegrini must decide on futures of Carlos Tevez, Gareth Barry and Joleon Lescott as Manchester City name starting date for new manager
Liverpool striker Andy Carroll delays over West Ham move
- 1 Man and woman arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder victim of Woolwich machete attack, named as Drummer Lee Rigby
- 2 'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
- 3 Grace Dent: I’m not sure how these people can avoid being called ‘bigots’. And the more ‘civilised’, the worse they are
- 4 Woolwich murder: They killed, then they performed - these men should be starved of our attention
- 5 Woolwich attack: The EDL will seek to exploit this evil crime for their own evil ends
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.