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Rediff.com  » Sports » Alonso triumphs amidst chaos in Shanghai

Alonso triumphs amidst chaos in Shanghai

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October 16, 2005 13:57 IST

Spaniard Fernando Alonso won a chaotic Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday to hand Renault the Formula One constructor's title on top of the driver's crown he took last month.

McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen finished second, with the Mercedes-powered team's hopes draining away when Colombian team team mate Juan Pablo Montoya had to retire before the halfway stage.

The victory was the seventh of a phenomenal season for the 24-year-old Alonso, who became the sport's youngest champion in Brazil last month.

The championship was also Renault's first as a constructor and, arriving in China with a two-point lead, they could breathe easy for most of a race interrupted by two safety car periods.

McLaren's hopes vanished when Montoya, following Raikkonen in fourth place, ran over a damaged drain cover and retired on lap 25 after two pit stops.

Renault were still made to sweat when Giancarlo Fisichella, who finished fourth behind Toyota's Ralf Schumacher, collected a drive-through penalty for obstructive driving on the pit entry with six laps to go.

Austrian Christian Klien was fifth for Red Bull, with Brazilian Felipe Massa sixth for Sauber. Australian Mark Webber was seventh in a Williams and Briton Jenson Button took the final point for BAR.

Ferrari's seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher was first to end the season, colliding on the way to the starting grid and spinning off during the race while following the safety car.

Australian Paul Stoddart, watching his final race as Minardi boss before handing over to new owners Red Bull, blamed the German for the astonishing collision with his Dutch driver Christijan Albers.

"It was Michael's fault," Stoddart said. "He just didn't look in his mirrors and pulled across. Typical Minardi -- go out with a bang."

Schumacher and Albers both started from the pit lane, with the German working his way back up to 10th place before spinning off into the gravel on the 23rd of 56 laps. He got out and trudged back to the paddock.

The safety car, called out for six laps as marshals hurriedly fixed the drain cover damage that wrecked Montoya's race, was back in action on lap 30 after Narain Karthikeyan wrecked his Jordan coming out of turn 13.

With debris scattered across the track, India's first Formula One driver sat long in the shattered cockpit with flames flickering around the rear bodywork before finally pulling himself out and jogging to safety.

The race was Jordan's 250th and last under that name, with the team founded by Irish entrepreneur Eddie Jordan returning as Midland next year after being sold to Russian-born Canadian billionaire Alex Shnaider.

It was also the last for BAR, to be reborn as a wholly-owned Honda team, and Sauber who have been bought by Williams' departing engine partners BMW.

Alan Baldwin
Source:
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