SIX OF THE BEST FOR ALONSO - AND 11 FOR MICHELIN Formula One world championship leader Fernando Alonso (Renault/Michelin) took another step closer to the title today with a dominant victory in the German Grand Prix. The Spaniard made a bold...
SIX OF THE BEST FOR ALONSO - AND 11 FOR MICHELIN
Formula One world championship leader Fernando Alonso (Renault/Michelin) took another step closer to the title today with a dominant victory in the German Grand Prix. The Spaniard made a bold start from third on the grid and trailed pole position man Kimi Räikkönen (McLaren-Mercedes/Michelin) in the early stages.
A hydraulic problem brought the Finn's race to an end just after half-distance, however, and Alonso swept through to score his sixth win of the season and the seventh of his grand prix career. It was Michelin's 11th win of the year and the 86th in the company's illustrious F1 history.
Pat Symonds, executive engineering director for Renault F1 said: "This weekend's unexpectedly cool conditions provided an element of uncertainty. The temperature was 20 degrees below what everybody expected - and that is an enormous gulf for a tyre manufacturer. It is a great credit to the quality of Michelin products that they can handle such a wide range of conditions. Today we had the ideal blend of grip and wear to suit racing conditions."
Räikkönen's team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya started last after crashing during the qualifying session - but he was up to 12th within seconds of the start and gradually clawed his way up the leaderboard. He vaulted to second after the final round of stops to complete a spectacular recovery that moved him up to fourth in the world championship.
Although Jenson Button (B*A*R-Honda/Michelin) did not make a quick start from the front row of the grid, he recovered to finish third - his first podium finish of the campaign.
Giancarlo Fisichella (Renault) muscled past world champion Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) on the penultimate lap to complete a Michelin clean sweep of the top four. Five of Bibendum's partners scored points, with Ralf Schumacher (Toyota) taking sixth place ahead of David Coulthard (Red Bull Racing) and Felipe Massa (Sauber-Petronas). Rising Red Bull star Christian Klien showed great spirit by twice battling past Rubens Barrichello's Ferrari, but the young Austrian had to settle for ninth - just outside the points.
Of the other Michelin runners, Nick Heidfeld (BMW WilliamsF1 Team) ran a strong fifth initially, but eventually finished 11th after adopting a three-stop strategy - one more than his main rivals. Takuma Sato (B*A*R-Honda), Jarno Trulli (Toyota) and Mark Webber (BMW WilliamsF1 Team) all suffered damage during a series of first-lap clashes. Sato recovered to finish 12th, Trulli was classified 14th after pulling off on the final lap and Webber missed 11 laps before rejoining too far in arrears to be classified.
Former world champion Jacques Villeneuve (Sauber-Petronas/Michelin) had an eventful afternoon. Hit by Barrichello on the opening lap, he was subsequently involved in separate collisions with newcomer Robert Doornbos (Minardi) and Tiago Monteiro (Jordan) en route to 15th place.
Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director:
"From the moment we began running on Friday until the second the chequered flag dropped, our tyres performed impeccably in conditions that were much cooler than we anticipated when originally selecting the compounds. The only frustration, for me at least, was that - despite predictions to the contrary - we still haven't had a chance to demonstrate the effectiveness of our latest rain tyres, which I believe will be every bit as effective as those that have been so dominant in the dry so far this season. That apart, this has been a perfect weekend. Roll on Budapest."
Nick Shorrock, director of Michelin F1 activities:
"This has been another brilliant result for Michelin and our partners who had all made the same tyre choice. We have also three different chassis on the podium and five of our partners bringing cars home in the points. Our tyres have delivered strong performance all weekend and their durability was a clear asset in the later stages of the race - as Jenson Button and Giancarlo Fisichella proved with some aggressive, effective passing manoeuvres."