Renault wins Imola F1
Brilliant fightback by Michael Schumacher meets stiff
resistance from Fernando Alonso
BY OUR AUTOMOBILES CORRESPONDENT
2005: Renault driver Fernando Alonso took the victory stand at San Marino GP on Sunday, winning his third F1 race in a row. But the drama of the day was world champion Michael Schumacher's amazing
sprint from No 13 to No 2 and Alonso's stubborn resistance to the Ferrari challenge.
Arguably, the best race of the season. Renault reasserted its Formula One championship potential, even as the Ferrari team spewed all its firepower and mindpower at the Imola race track.
It was not so dramatic when the lights turned
green, With McLaren Mercedes' Kimi Raikkonen powering away from pole position, leaving Alonso and Trulli to battle it out among themselves. Raikkonen's car failed, leaving Alonso to lead the race. Schumacher's team mate Ruben Barrichello too dropped out of the race, after the Ferrari lost control and veered off.
Schumacher, however, more than made up for it. By the time Ferrari entered the pit first, he was at No.3, because others had already been in and out of the pit. However, the Ferrari left the pit still at No.3, leaving spectators gasping and Ferrari fans cheering.
Fernando Alonso, who for some time lost the lead to Jenson Button, reclaimed the No 1 slot soon, with Schumacher closing in. And for
the dozen last laps, he valiantly held off the menacing Ferrari challenge at the tail,
refusing to cede place. Ferrari did the fastest laps, and stayed tied to the Renault's rear till the end of the race.
Schumacher kept looking for Alonso's driving loopholes to race ahead. Neither of them made a single error. At several points, it seemed like Schumacher will do some wild trick to get ahead of Renault (and goof up), but that was not to be. It looked like Alonso will crack up under the Ferrari fury, but that was not to be either.
The two drivers ran nose-to-tail for the last twelve laps. Eventually, Alonso crossed the checkered flag first, with Schumacher just two-tenths of a second behind.
Button held on for third, while Alex Wurz went some way to making up for Raikkonen's early exit by claiming fourth. Takuma Sato was fifth in the second BAR.
BY OUR AUTOMOBILE CORRESPONDENT
1. Fernando Alonso Spain Renault-Renault 62 laps 01:27:41.921
2. Michael Schumacher Germany Ferrari-Ferrari +0.2
3. Jenson Button Britain BAR-Honda +10.4
4. Alexander Wurz Austria McLaren-Mercedes +27.5
5. Takuma Sato Japan BAR-Honda +34.7
6. Jacques Villeneuve Canada Sauber-Petronas +64.4
7. Jarno Trulli Italy Toyota-Toyota +70.2
8. Ralf Schumacher Germany Toyota-Toyota +70.8
9. Nick Heidfeld Germany Williams-BMW +71.2
10. Mark Webber Australia Williams-BMW +83.2
11. Vitantonio Liuzzi Italy Red Bull-Cosworth +83.7
12. Felipe Massa Brazil Sauber-Petronas +1 lap
13. David Coulthard Britain Red Bull-Cosworth +1 lap
14. Narain Karthikeyan India Jordan-Toyota +1 lap
15. Tiago Monteiro Portugal Jordan-Toyota +2 laps