Robert Doornbos ended his Formula One season 2005 by finishing the Chinese Grand Prix, which was won by Fernando Alonso, in 14th position. In the final race of the Minardi F1 Team, Doornbos delivered a solid drive in which he led his teammate all the way and had some encouraging fights with both Jordans and Jacques Villeneuve.
Because both Michael Schumacher and Christijan Albers have to start out of the pitlane and Narain Karthikeyan has to refuel before the start, Robert Doornbos climbs up to P17 in the first lap. In this opening stage, Schumacher soon passes Doornbos, who completes his first stint in eightteenth position. At the same moment Doornbos makes his first pitstop in lap 18, the safety-car neutralises the race after Juan-Pablo Montoya hit a lose drain cover.
In the restart which follows in lap 24, Doornbos sees chance to overtake both Tiago Monteiro and Jacques Villeneuve. On from the 15th position, the Rotterdam-born driver starts chasing Narain Karthikeyan. As the Jordan driver crashes out only five laps later, the safety-car is employed for a second time. Together with his team Doornbos decides to make his second and final pitstop as the rac is already halfway. Because Takuma Sato retires and Jarno Trulli suffers from a problem in the final stages, Doornbos finishes Minardi’s final race in 14th position.
Robert Doornbos: “It feels good to end the season like this and I’m proud to have finished Minardi’s final race in 14th position. They often say you’re as good as your last race and today I could even fight with Villeneuve and Pizzonia. During this season I’ve learned a lot and today I was also able to put some of this in practise as I could attack and overtake a few Michelin-runners on cold tyres after the safety-car was deployed. Next to this my laptimes were very consistent, so I’m happy to have finished my season on a high!”
Robert Doornbos Media
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