ALONSO TAKES HIS FIFTH WIN OF THE YEAR -- AND MICHELIN'S SIXTH Fernando Alonso (Renault/Michelin) secured his fifth win of the season - and the 13th of his Formula One career - with a dominant display in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
ALONSO TAKES HIS FIFTH WIN OF THE YEAR -- AND MICHELIN'S SIXTH
Fernando Alonso (Renault/Michelin) secured his fifth win of the season - and the 13th of his Formula One career - with a dominant display in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. The Spaniard led away from pole position and drove a controlled race to beat closest world championship rival Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) by 13.9 seconds. It was the 99th victory in Michelin's illustrious F1 history.
Alonso made a clean start to head fellow front-row qualifier Kimi Räikkönen (McLaren Mercedes/Michelin) into Copse Corner, although the race was neutralised almost before it had started. On the opening lap, Scott Speed (Scuderia Toro Rosso/Michelin) collided with Ralf Schumacher (Toyota) at the high-speed Becketts sweep, and the German's car careered back across the track into the path of Mark Webber's Williams. All three drivers were forced to retire and the Safety Car was deployed while the wreckage was swept clear.
Alonso pulled away again when the race restarted on lap four and his lead was never seriously challenged. He was able to pace himself in the closing stages and yet still finish well clear of the elder Schumacher, who passed Räikkönen after the second and final round of scheduled pit stops. The result extends Alonso's lead over Schumacher to 23 points in the world championship for drivers while Renault leads Ferrari by 31 in the battle to be top constructor.
Despite being unable to contain Schumacher in the final stages of the race, Räikkönen said he was "happy" with third place- his first podium finish since Australia. He was one of six Michelin drivers to score points.
Giancarlo Fisichella (Renault) vaulted Felipe Massa during the first round of stops to secure fourth place, ahead of Juan Pablo Montoya (McLaren Mercedes, sixth), Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber F1 Team, seventh) and Jacques Villeneuve (BMW Sauber F1 Team, eighth). Heidfeld led Montoya initially after making a fantastic start, but a delay during his first refuelling stop cost him valuable time.
It was a disappointing weekend for local favourite Jenson Button (Honda/Michelin), who started 19th after failing to put together a quick lap during the first part of Saturday's critical qualifying session. He had made his way up to 12th place when he spun off amid a cloud of engine smoke on lap nine.
His Honda team-mate Rubens Barrichello headed the remaining Michelin finishers, in 10th place, while David Coulthard (Red Bull Racing, 12th), Vitantonio Liuzzi (Scuderia Toro Rosso, 13th) and Christian Klien (Red Bull Racing, 14th) also completed the distance.
Teams now have a one-weekend break before back-to-back North American races in Montreal and Indianapolis, where Michelin will be aiming to complete its glorious grand prix century.