THE LUCKY PUNCH

Alonso wins at the Nuerburgring after Raikkonen´s retirement in the last lap

This time starting from grid position two McLaren´s Kimi Raikkonen had been in the lead at Germany´s legendary Nuerburgring for winning the 2005 Grand Prix of Europe - not in such a superior manner, as he had done in the two races before, but good enough to score his third win in a row. With the Grand Prix coming to it´s end, the Finn more and more had to suffer under a brake tyre spot making things become even more difficult. The McLaren Mercedes driver had gone through a gravel trap before, visibility, braking and steering had become extremely complicated. Fernando Alonso, again with worn-down rear tyres also been driven through the gravel of the Dunlop Curve, had become pretty near to the race leader, but the Spaniard in the Renault was clever enough, not to attack the Silver Arrow to score further eight fine points for the championship. Then the right front suspension, made out of carbon fibre, had collapsed as the consequence of the defect tyre, the MP4/20 stranded in the run out area in front of the Mercedes Arena - and had nearly taken Jenson Button´s BAR Honda with it. So the way had been free for Fernando Alonso´s third victory in 2005. In the Parc Fermé Renault´s charismatic team principal Flavio Briatore was dancing with F.I.A.´s Herbie Blash, who once had begun as a mechanic at Team Lotus to become later team manager at Bernie Ecclestone´s Brabham team. On the podium the trophy for the winning constructor was presented by former tennis ace Boris Becker, a partner of Mercedes-Benz.

At the start, Kimi Raikkonen had been able to accelerate out pole man Nick Heidfeld, who was accompanied by his grandmother, mother and his pregnant girl-friend Patricia at the Nuerburgring. Being on the the top of the grid for the first time in Grand Prix Racing, Heidfeld, coming from nearby Moenchengladbach, had been on pole position for the last time also in the Eifel Mountains driving for West Competition in Formula 3000 back in 1999. Coming home second as he also had done in Monaco one week before, Heidfeld was happy with his result in his home country. The qualifying format had been changed between Monte Carlo and the Nuerburgring. There is only one session on Saturday.

After their ban caused by their Imola scandal, BAR Honda re-joined the business after missing the last two races, but they had to use the engines from the San Marino Grand Prix, that had not been allowed to be taken to the test stand to avoid corrosion damages. Under these circumstances British American Racing were not competitive enough for scoring points at the Nuerburgring.

Toyota, who have got their headquarters in Cologne only one hour by car away from the Nuerburgring, have brought a lot of their employees to the track. But on the grid the mechanics had been working too long at Jarno Trulli´s TF105, the Italian got a drive through penalty for it. Shortly after the start Ralf Schumacher had rammed Fernando Alonso ahead of the first corner making him to come into the pits for a new nose and then to drop back to position 17. In lap 34 he spun into the gravel trap of the Ford Curve, while Trulli scored one point finishing eighth position. Toyota´s customer Jordan had put Renault test driver Frank Montagny into the cockpit of their third car instead of Dutch Robert Dornboos for Friday´s free practice session. The Frenchman used six sets of tyres instead of the permitted four ones and so this mistake will make Jordan´s third car be excluded from the next race event in Canada.

The start of the race had been stopped at the latest possible second with Giancarlo Fisichella´s Renault standing still on the grid. Another formation lap with the race shortened one lap not only brought the collision between Ralf Schumacher and Alonso, but also a parallel one of Mark Webber´s Williams BMW being in contact with Juan Pablo Montoya´s McLaren Mercedes. The Australian had to retire after driving only some hundred metres.

Michael Schumacher had to go a long way around the accident place to avoid getting involved in the starting collision, dropped back to end of the field, also had to enter the gravel while fighting back for scoring some points finishing fifth place for the troubled Ferrari team. Rubens Barrichello, on a three stop strategy like Heidfeld, had been able to enter the podium third place for the first time in 2005. "Our difficulties must be searched in the package. Everything has to be in harmony within that, tyres, engine and chassis. But it is not at the moment," says Michael Schumacher.

Red Bull´s David Coulthard was able to take the lead in lap 42 ahead of Alonso, when Raikkonen was in the pits. Later the Scot received also a drive through penalty - for pit lane speeding. But this did not prevent him from coming home an excellent fourth place. Vitantonio Liuzzi again was driving the second car of the Milton Keynes based team, because he knows the Nuerburgring, while Christian Klien will come into action in North America, where he already had driven in 2004. Minardi´s Christijan Albers and Jordan´s Tiago Monteiro received drive through penalties for ignoring the blue flags when being lapped.

Both the Sauber Petronas drivers Jacques Villeneuve and Felipe Massa were lapped once and had to stay out of the point rakings. Very shortly before the chequered flag coming out, Massa had sustained a defect left front tyre making also crack a part of the front wing. The Brazilian had to come into the pits both for a fresh tyre and a new nose. After crashing each other in Monte Carlo giving away five valuable worldchampionship points, the Sauber drivers had to enter the headquarters of the Swiss team in Hinwil for a discussion with their boss for better driving discipline.

"At the moment the tyres are used until the limit caused by the new regulations," is Niki Lauda´s comment on the current situation. An image of the driving license of Austria´s triple world champion was shown in Red Bull´s new paddock newspaper called Red Bulletin, that had been introduced in Monte Carlo. Meanwhile in Italy the Senna case had been closed definitely by the authorities. After years of stagnation the crowds at the Nuerburgring have become bigger again in 2005, especially the organizers offer the fans (and also the marshals) a lot of activities to make them become closer with the drivers on Germany´s most traditional circuit. When the new Airbus A380, the biggest commercial plane of the world, had landed again at it´s base of French Toulouse after it´s successful maiden flight some weeks ago, one of the flight engineers was especially welcomed after leaving the aircraft. His is coming from Spain and his name is also Fernando Alonso.

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Starting Grid
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1 N Heidfeld 1:30.081

2 K Raikkonen 1:30.197

3 M Webber 1:30.368

4 J Trulli 1:30.700

5 JP Montoya 1:30.890

6 F Alonso 1:31.056

7 R Barrichello 1:31.249

8 R Schumacher 1:31.392

9 G Fisichella 1:31.566

10 M Schumacher 1:31.585

11 F Massa 1:32.205

12 D Coulthard 1:32.553

13 J Button 1:32.594

14 V Liuzzi 1:32.642

15 J Villeneuve 1:32.891

16 T Sato 1:32.626

17 T Monteiro 1:35.047

18 P Friesacher 1:35.954

19 N Karthikeyan 1:36.192

20 C Albers 1:36.239

Results
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2005 Grand Prix of Europe, Nuerburgring, Nuerburg/Germany, 60 Laps à 5.148 km = 308.863, Weather: Air 25°C, Track 45°C, Humidity 51%

1 F Alonso 1:31:46.648

2 N Heidfeld +16.567

3 R Barrichello +18.549

4 D Coulthard +31.588

5 M Schumacher +50.445

6 G Fisichella +51.932

7 JP Montoya +58.173

8 J Trulli +1:11.091

9 V Luizzi +1:11.529

10 J Button +1:35.786

11 K Raikkonen DNF*

12 T Sato +1 Lap

13 J Villeneuve +1

14 F Massa +1

15 T Monteiro

16 N Karthikeyan +1

17 C Albers +2 Laps

18 P Friesacher +2

* retired, but classified

 

Retirements

R Schumacher, Lap 33: Spin

M Webber, 1: Accident

 

Fastest Lap

F Alonso, 1:30.711
(Lap 44)

 

 

Worldchampionship Standings
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Drivers

1 F Alonso 59

2 K Raikkonen 27

3 J Trulli 27

4 N Heidfeld 25

5 M Webber 18

6 G Fisichella 17

7 R Schumacher 17

8 M Schumacher 16

9 JP Montoya 16

10 R Barrichello 15

11 D Coulthard 15

12 A Wurz 6

13 J Villeneuve 3

14 P de la Rosa 4

15 C Klien 3

16 F Massa 2

17 V Liuzzi 1

 

Constructors

1 Renault 76

2 McLaren Mercedes 53

3 Toyota 44

4 Williams BMW 43

5 Ferrari 31

6 Red Bull Cosworth 19

7 Sauber Petronas 7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Photos © Ferrari Press Office, BMW Motorsport, West McLaren Mercdes, TMC, Sauber Motorsport and
Red Bull Racing

 

© 2005 by researchracing

 

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