Alonso takes the chequered flag

Defending champion won the season-opener holding off Schumacher. Kimi finished 3rd starting last from the grid.

india Updated: Mar 13, 2006 02:44 IST

Defending Formula One champion Fernando Alonso of Renault won the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday, holding off a challenge from Michael Schumacher.

The 24-year-old Spaniard, who led from the 40th lap, thwarted an attempt by Ferrari's Schumacher to overtake him after his second pit-stop on the 57-lap Bahrain International Circuit.

McLaren-Mercedes' Kimi Raikkonen finished third after he started last on the grid due to car failure in Saturday's qualification. Alonso's ninth career win came despite starting fourth on the grid, behind Ferrari pair Schumacher and Felipe Massa and Honda's Jenson Button.

First Published: Mar 12, 2006 19:36 IST