Brazil 2005 - Alonso makes history 17 Oct 2006
This year he needs just one point in Brazil to become champion. Last year Fernando Alonso needed six, but title rival Kimi Raikkonen - and McLaren team mate Juan Pablo Montoya - werent about to make it easy for the Renault star. The two teams spent practice at Interlagos trading fastest times, with the silver cars emerging as favourites for pole position. However, Alonso put one hand firmly on the trophy when he stole P1 from Montoya.
Raikkonen, slipped up, running wide at the very start of his qualifying lap in the Senna S, pushing him down to fifth on the grid, with the Renault of Giancarlo Fisichella and Jenson Buttons BAR ahead of him on row two. It was not a good start for the Finn, who knew he had to win to retain any realistic hope of the title, while all Alonso needed was a third place to wrap things up - regardless of Raikkonens result.
When the lights went out Alonso kept his lead, but a first-corner pileup involving the two Williams and David Coulthards Red Bull immediately brought out the safety car. When it pitted, Montoya got the jump on Alonso and faced little resistance as he muscled past into a lead he would retain, except briefly during pit stops, until the chequered flag. For once the Colombian dominated his McLaren team mate, who duly finished second, but Raikkonen was powerless to prevent Alonso taking the third place required to make him the youngest Formula One world champion in history, aged just 24.
The only bad news for Renault was McLarens one-two, which, coupled with Fisichellas fifth place, meant the blue team lost the constructors championship lead for the first time all season. Ferrari, meanwhile, put in a relatively strong performance, with Michael Schumachers fourth and Rubens Barrichellos sixth ensuring they stayed in front of Toyota in the battle for third in the standings. For Schumacher, however, the race would be remembered as the day he finally passed his crown of five years to a new, and much younger, king.
Links: Results / Live Timing Archive, Photos, TV images.