OllieF1
Alonso Takes British Victory

Alonso Takes British Victory

Jenson Button at the British F1 Grand PrixFernando Alonso has comfortably driven his Renault to victory at Silverstone, leading home Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen. In what was a fairly uneventful race, Alonso has extended his championship points tally to 74, 23 clear of his nearest rival Schumacher.

The start of the race saw an incident involving Scott Speed, Ralf Schumacher and Mark Webber, which eventually forced all three to retire. The incident started with Scott getting a reasonable start in his V10-restricted Toro Rosso, and he managed to draw along side the Toyota of Schumacher. In an attempt to pass around the outside, the two cars made contact and Ralf’sToyota was pitched into the Williams of Webber, who had nowhere to go.

The main three lead away in formation, and again at the restart after the safety car pulled in after Webber’s Williams and Schumacher’s Toyota were removed from the circuit. The restart was a little contentious as Alonso backed the field up more than usual in his attempts to out-do the McLaren behind. In fact, Raikkonen almost clipped the rear wing Fernando’s Renault due to the backing-up of the pack.

The only major change of position came after the second pit stop where Schumacher, who was behind Raikkonen at the time, pitted first and gave the impression his race for second was over. However, an electrifying out lap which gave two purple sectors (fastest times) allowed the German champion to take Raikkonen’s place despite a similarly timed pit stop by the McLaren crew on the next lap for Kimi. Needless to say, this sort of pace from the Ferrari was unexpected as Schumacher appeared to be ‘just hanging on’ to the McLaren.

Giancarlo Fisichella had a bit of a quiet afternoon and didn’t really trouble the leaders too much. He finished fourth and was chasing down Kimi Raikkonen in the final ten laps, but unfortunately it was a case of too little too late.

Juan Pablo Montoya completed race distance and finished sixth despite carrying a hole in his right sidepod after an earlier incident on lap one. This hindered the balance of the McLaren and allowed the Ferrari of Massa to finish in fifth, despite starting fourth.

Nick Heidfeld and Jacques Villeneuve finished in the final points paying positions, the German getting the better of the Canadian just like he did in qualifying. It was a strong afternoon for the BMW Saubers, and their perormance at Silverstone will be encorouging for the team when they head to other fast circuits like Hockenheim, Monza and Suzuka.

Nico Rosberg drove well, and his Cosworth power plant managed race distance this time. Unfortuantely, the sensational young driver was only eigth tenths away from eighth place on the last lap, but it was certainly another good weekend for Rosberg.

The biggest let down was probably Rubens Barrichello, who after qualifying in sixth, seemed to go backwards in the race. Barrichello bought his Honda home in tenth.

Jenson Button completed his miserable weekend with some kind of engine-related failure on lap 19. After the frustrations of qualifying, Jenson was looking good in the race and may have crept into eigth, but alas his Honda didn’t want to play and Jenson watched the rest of the race from the pit wall. The continual frustrations caused by Honda’s inability to get it right on race day must be wearing thin with Jenson, but the Brit remained chipper as he vowed to work through the problems the Honda team are facing.

All in all, a fairly boring British Grand Prix. There wasn’t much overtaking and the pace didn’t exactly set the track on fire. But it was nice to see Fernando take his first British win in Formula One, much to the disappointment of Michael Schumacher who didn’t look too pleased as he walked through Parc Ferme towards the podium. The race didn’t bring the clash of the titans that a Alonso/Raikkonen/Schumacher grid suggested, but the performance of each driver underlined who is at the top of their game, and who needs to eek out a few more tenths from their machines.

Oliver White

2 comments

  • i’m betting ferrari planned that one-lap-wonder moment the whole weekend. at the last barcelona test they found a tyre that was super quick over one lap but tailed off immediately afterwards. the only flaw in their plan was it was a mclaren they had to use it on, not a renault.

    alonso’s pole lap was superb yesterday, given the fuel he was carrying.

  • Indeed, this weekend really showed that Alonso is a truly superb champion. Suzuka ’05 showed he can overtake, and Silverstone ’06 showed he can lead and dominate from the front. And qualify with a more fuel (and therefore weight) than his nearest competitors. Although he’s done it before, it really showed at this race.

    Today I said, “Alonso has beaten Schumacher, not just in this race, but also to the 2006 Title.” I don’t like Ferrari-esque dominance in F1, but when the winner gives a cheeky “cheers” before the podium, well, you just can’t help but love the guy!

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