Spain 2005 - Raikkonen's runaway win 09 May 2006
One topic dominated the start of last years Barcelona weekend - BAR. The team, now Honda, turned up ready to compete, only to be handed a two-race ban for running an underweight car at the previous round at San Marino. They were also stripped of their Imola points and, despite protesting their innocence, left the Spanish paddock in disgrace. By the end of the weekend, however, the topic had changed - to McLaren.
Having threatened to do so at Imola, before reliability gremlins struck, Kimi Raikkonen took a runaway victory, leading from start to finish. Such was his pace, the Finn never lost the lead - even during his two pit stops. Championship leader Fernando Alonso had no response and came home a distant second, almost half a minute down the road.
Qualifying was a thrilling affair. In Saturdays first session, less than a tenth of a second separated Jarno Trulli, Alonso, Raikkonen and Ralf Schumacher at the top of the times, though notably, only the McLaren drivers lap included a mistake. With an error-free run in session two on Sunday morning, Raikkonen duly clinched pole, with a lightly-fuelled Mark Webber leaping up the order to join him on the front row for Williams.
Raikkonen streaked away at the start, while Webber went rapidly backwards, and it soon became clear the McLaren star was unlikely to be headed. For a while Giancarlo Fisichella looked capable of challenging his Renault team mate, but again poor luck hit the Italian and he was forced to make an unscheduled stop with a bodywork problem, eventually finishing fifth. Ahead of him were the Toyotas, the Japanese team proving their loss of form in Imola was, as promised, only a temporary blip. Behind him were Webber, whose race strategy effectively went out the window with his poor start, and Juan Pablo Montoya, who had a typically eventful race on his return from his tennis injury for McLaren, surviving a 360-degree spin on his way to seventh. David Coulthard maintained Red Bulls perfect point-scoring run in eighth.
And what of Ferrari, who had displayed such stunning race pace at the previous round? Whatever the perfect combination of factors that had played in their favour at Imola, it had disappeared in Spain. Michael Schumacher could only qualify eighth, while an engine change dropped Rubens Barrichello to the back of the grid and things got worse in the race. Schumacher went as high as second ahead of his first stop before two punctures in close succession ended his race. Barrichello wound up ninth in an ill-handling F2005 with blistered tyres. Both Ferrari and Bridgestone admitted they still had plenty of work to do. What a difference a year can make!
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