Alonso wins Monaco Grand Prix
Reigning world champion Alonso won the Monaco Grand Prix, the seventh race of the Formula One world championship.india Updated: Jul 19, 2006 23:39 IST
Defending Formula One champion Fernando Alonso of Renault won the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday, his first victory in F1's most prestigious race.
Alonso was followed by Juan Pablo Montoya of McLaren-Mercedes and David Coulthard of Red Bull was third. It was the first podium for Red Bull in an F1 race.
Rubens Barrichello in a Honda was fourth with Michael Schumacher of Ferrari fifth and Giancarlo Fisichella sixth in a Renault. The victory was Alonso's fourth in seven races this season and the 12th of his career. He now has 64 points with Schumacher on 43. Alonso's task was made easier when Kimi Raikkonen of McLaren, last year's winner, dropped out and five-time Monaco champion Schumacher was penalized before the race began.
Alonso and Raikkonen were separated by less than a second through 50 laps when Raikkonen's engine gave out.
Alonso started from the pole, moving up from second when Schumacher was stripped of the pole position late Saturday. Stewards ruled Schumacher deliberately stopped his car on the circuit - blocking other drivers - during Saturday's qualifying. After setting the fastest lap, Schumacher appeared to brake too hard and stalled on the final turn. Others - including Alonso - were behind him trying to clock a quicker lap but had to slow to avoid the car of the seven-time series champion.
Stewards ruled Schumacher stopped intentionally and took away his qualifying time. Instead, Schumacher started from the pit lane with a full fuel load.
After quickly moving up to 16th, Schumacher got stuck behind Jenson Button's Honda and lost 2-3 seconds a lap to the leaders. After 15 laps he was 48 seconds behind.
He was a minute behind after 20 laps when he finally passed Button.
Alonso and Raikkonen were close through the first pit stops after 23 laps. Schumacher pitted after 37 laps, which put him more than a lap behind.
At midrace - 39 laps - it was Alonso and Raikkonen continuing their close battle with Mark Webber and Montoya less than four seconds back. Schumacher was a lap down.
Webber's race ended with smoke and fire coming from his engine on the 49th lap, which brought out the safety car.
Raikkonen's race ended soon after with his engine also smoking. When the safety car went off, Alonso was up and running with Montoya in second.
Out of the seven races this season, Alonso has won four, Schumacher two, and Alonso's teammate Giancarlo Fisichella one. The fifth place by Schumacher ended a run of three good races in which he won twice and was second.
The next race is the British Grand Prix June 11.