World Champion, Fernando Alonso has won his seventh win for the season, and has lead the way for Renault to take the World Constructors Championship for season 2005 at the China Grand Prix today.
The race had an eventful start even before the lights went out, as Michael Schumacher and Christijan Albers collided when lining up for the grid, and both were left to run to the pits to start in the spare cars from pit lane.
All started well, except for B.A.R.’s Takuma Sato who was given a drive-though penalty for jumping the start. On lap 19 Juan Pablo Montoya was forced to pit with tire damage after he hit damaged drain cover and the Safety Car was released in a wave of confusion as the marshals were sent to check all drain covers around the track. This gave a chance for all to make pit stops during the safety car period, which dramatically changed the placing of some drivers.
It was a long walk back to the pits for Michael Schumacher after he spun he’s Ferrari out on lap 22 under the safety car period, and brought a disappointing end to a difficult year for the former World Champion.
After the shake-up of the grid after the safety car, it left Montoya out of the points in 13th place, and McLarens chances of taking the title were declining. Their chances then took a major blow when Montoya was forced to pit with too much damage to his car after the “drain cover” incident.
The safety car was sent out for a second time after Narian Karthikeyan dramatically ran his Jordan car wide into the back straight from turn 13 and spread debris over the track in what could be his last run in Formula One. With the second safety car period, another wave of pit stops occurred, with only three drivers in Ralf Schumacher, Felipe Massa and Christian Klien taking different strategies and opted to stay out during the safety car period.
Not even a drive-though penalty to Giancarlo Fisichella could stop Renault from taking out the title as Alonso, who started on pole, dominated the rest of the race from the top spot, and completing a stellar season for himself and his team Renault, collecting the World Drivers Championship and World Constructors Championship respectively.
Kimi Raikonnen and McLaren were left to ponder what could have been, as he finished the race out in close second, four seconds behind winner Alonso. Ralf Schumacher was able to reap the benefits of Fisichella’s penalty to complete the podium in third position, with Fisichella in forth. Along with Ralf, Christian Klien and Felipe Massa, who was driving his last race for Sauber before moving to Ferrari, complete a great strategic points finish in fifth and sixth position respectively, with Mark Webber and Jenson Button rounding off the points in seventh and eighth.
Along with the excitement of the race, it was also a major event for those who will be leaving the Formula One circus; both Minardi, Jordan and Sauber drove under their guise for the last time as both have been bought out by Red Bull, Midland and BMW and with Minardi becoming the newly announced ‘Squadra Toro Rosso’, Jordan to ‘Midland F1’ and Sauber to ‘BMW Racing’ next season. B.A.R. have left Honda as title sponsors as Honda took total acquisition of the team a couple of weeks ago.
The China Grand Prix has been a magnificent ending to what has been an exciting season of Formula One for 2005. For all you F1 fans out there, there are only 147 days until the next race and the start of the 2006 season.