Alonso wins Canadian GP for fourth straight victory
Fernando Alonso won his fourth consecutive race Sunday, driving his Renault to an easy victory in the Canadian Grand Prix and widening his lead over Michael Schumacher in the world championship standings.india Updated: Jun 26, 2006 01:38 IST
Fernando Alonso won his fourth consecutive race Sunday, driving his Renault to an easy victory in the Canadian Grand Prix and widening his lead over Michael Schumacher in the world championship standings.
Alonso, who started from the pole, had only a brief challenge from Kimi Raikkonen early in the race but held off the Finn's attempt to pass him on the 12th lap.
The Spaniard said the lack of competition - he had a late lead of almost 25 seconds - made the race more difficult than it should have been.
"It was not easy to keep the concentration while leading the race with such a large gap," Alonso said. "You lose concentration."
Raikkonen had a horrible day in the pits, having trouble on a tire change during his first stop and stalling his McLaren on another, preventing him from challenging Alonso again. He was then passed by Schumacher with one lap to go.
But Schumacher, a seven-time winner on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, also had a rough day and never tested Alonso. He drove his Ferrari off course once, brushed the wall and cut across the curve on the final turn several times to take him out of contention. He wound up second and lost more ground in the chase to catch Alonso, who stretched his points lead to 25 points entering next week's U.S. Grand Prix.
"It's just a shame there wasn't 10 more laps, it could have made it interesting," Schumacher said. "We kept the damage as little as possible."
This marked the first successful outing for Alonso in Canada. He had failed to finish three of his previous four races at this event, including last year when he hit the wall while leading.
Even though he won the pole - his fifth in a row - he expected a challenge from Schumacher and Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa for the victory. It never happened and Alonso drove off for his sixth win of the season, and 15th consecutive top-three finish.
"It is fantastic - all the victories are nice, but this one after the last two or three years having a chance to win and then mistakes or mechanical problems, this is one of the races we should have (won) in the previous years," Alonso said.
Raikkonen wound up third.
"It wasn't the most easiest race," he said. "The first pit stop we had a problem with the clutch, and the second pit stop the car just stopped because the clutch was gone."
Giancarlo Fisichella, Alonso's teammate at Renault, was fourth. Massa was fifth, Jarno Trulli scored his first points of the season with a sixth-place finish for Toyota. Nick Heidfeld was seventh for Williams and David Coulthard came in eighth after starting last because he changed his engine before the race.
Jenson Button was eighth in a Honda and American Scott Speed was 10th.
Jacques Villeneuve had yet another disappointing finish on the track named for his late father. He was heading to at least a seventh-place finish when he crashed into the wall with 11 laps to go. He wound up 16th.
The drama of this race began on the opening lap, when Raikkonen jumped past Fisichella to take away second place. Stewards investigated Fisichella for jumping the start and penalized him with a drive-through pass in the pits.
Right behind, Juan Pablo Montoya had his hands full with Schumacher and Nicco Rosberg. But as Montoya attempted to pass Rosberg the German made contact with Montoya, sending him into the wall and Montoya to the pits for repair work.
Montoya got back on the track but still ended his day early when he brushed the wall coming out of a turn and left the race moments later.
Meanwhile, Midland teammates Tiago Monteiro and Christijan Albers crashed into each other for the second time in three races. Monteiro continued but Albers was done.
Franck Montagny joined them in the pits when his engine blew on his Super Aguri. He was followed by Rubens Barrichello, who retired his Honda after 13 laps because of a mechanical problem.