BARCELONA: Five-time world champion Michael Schumacher resisted the intense pressure of Spanish racer Fernando Alonso to clinch his second successive victory of the season yesterday when he won the Spanish Grand Prix.
Schumacher, driving the new Ferrari, led from start to finish and saw both the McLarens of Kimi Raikkonen and David Coulthard crash out in a dramatic afternoon at the Circuit de Catalunya.
But if he thought the misfortune of his traditional rivals would make for an easier afternoon, he was mistaken as Alonso, the 21-year-old Renault driver racing in front of a passionate home crowd, pushed the German all the way to the finish after starting from third on the grid and was just 5.7secs behind at the chequered flag.
Although he had to eventually settle for second place, Alonso managed to hammer home his message and boost his growing reputation by relegating the other Ferrari of Rubens Barrichello to third place.
The Spaniard chipped away at Schumacher's lead in the later stages of the race reducing the advantage to just over five seconds at one stage although that gap increased to over six after the final round of three pit stops with 15 laps left.
Schumacher is now in second place in the championship with 28 points, four behind Raikkonen after five races in the 16-event series.
Incredibly, Alonso is now third in the championship with 25 points.
McLaren suffered a miserable race with world championship leader Kimi Raikkonen as well as David Coulthard crashing out.
Raikkonen's McLaren smashed into the Jaguar of Antonio Pizzonia on the start grid while Coulthard spun off on the 17th lap after trying and failing to get past fellow Briton Jenson Button in the BAR.
At halfway, five-time world champion Michael Schumacher had a 6.4sec lead over Alonso who had got past Barrichello after the first round of pit stops.
Raikkonen had started from the back of the grid having failed to set a qualifying time on Saturday but he was immediately ruled out when he hit Pizzonia's car which had stalled on the grid.
The safety car was called out with Schumacher and Barrichello occupying the first two positions having thwarted an early challenge from Alonso.
However, Alonso's teammate Jarno Trulli, who had started in fourth place, was also a first lap casualty when he tangled with Coulthard. The Scotsman said he wasn't aware of Button's position on the track when they made contact. – AFP
|SPANISH GP RESULTS |
1. Michael Schumacher (Ger) Ferrari 1' 33:46.933, 2. Fernando Alonso (Spa) Renault at 5.716secs, 3. Rubens Barrichello (Bra) Ferrari 18.001, 4. Juan Pablo Montoya (Col) Williams 1:02.022, 5. Ralf Schumacher (Ger) Williams one lap, 6. Cristiano Da Matta (Bra) Toyota one lap, 7. Mark Webber (Aus) Jaguar one lap, 8. Ralph Firman (Gbr) Jordan two laps, 9. Jenson Button (Gbr) BAR two laps, 10. Nick Heidfeld (Ger) Sauber two laps, 11. Justin Wilson (Gbr) Minardi two laps, 12. Jos Verstappen (Ned) Minardi three laps
Drivers: 1. Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) 32pts, 2. Michael Schumacher 28, 3. Fernando Alonso 25, 4. Rubens Barrichello 20, 5. David Coulthard (Gbr) 19, 6. Ralf Schumacher 17, 7. Juan Pablo Montoya 15, 8. Giancarlo Fisichella (Ita) 10, 9. Jarno Trulli (Ita) 9, 10. Heinz-Harald Frentzen (Ger) 7, 11. Jacques Villeneuve (Can) 3, 12. Cristiano Da Matta 3, 13. Jenson Button 3, 14. Mark Webber 2, 15. Nick Heidfeld 1, 16. Ralph Firman 1
1. McLaren 51pts, 2. Ferrari 48, 3. Renault 34, 4. Williams 32, 5. Jordan 11, 6. Sauber 8, 7. BAR 6, 8. Toyota 3, 9. Jaguar 2