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Britain 2005 - Montoya's McLaren breakthrough 06 Jun 2006

The podium (L to R):  Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault; Juan Pablo Montoya (COL) McLaren and Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) McLaren  
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, British Grand Prix, Race Day, Silverstone, England, 10 July 2005 Race winner Juan Pablo Montoya (COL) McLaren Mercedes MP4/20 takes the chequered flag 
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, British Grand Prix, Race Day, Silverstone, England, 10 July 2005 Jenson Button (GBR) BAR Honda 007 waves to the crowd.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, British Grand Prix, Race Day, Silverstone, England, 10 July 2005 The opening laps of the race. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, British Grand Prix, Race Day, Silverstone, England, 10 July 2005 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault R25 
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, British Grand Prix, Race Day, Silverstone, England, 10 July 2005

Kimi Raikkonen may have been McLaren’s main title challenger coming into last year’s British Grand Prix, but it was team mate Juan Pablo Montoya who stole the limelight at Silverstone, the Colombian putting in a characteristically aggressive drive to score his first win in a silver car.

After swallowing the bitter pill of a ten-spot grid penalty at the previous round at Magny-Cours, Raikkonen was hoping for better luck in Britain. It didn’t happen. He qualified less than three hundredths of a second behind Fernando Alonso, but another failed Mercedes V10 demoted him to 12th on the grid, dealing another heavy blow to the Finn’s world championship hopes, while Montoya took P3 on the grid. As in France, however, Raikkonen made the best of a bad situation and overall it was McLaren, not Renault, who emerged the weekend’s winners.

Sunday afternoon’s front row consisted Alonso and Jenson Button, giving British fans hope of a home win, or at least BAR’s first podium of the year. Montoya had other ideas, sprinting from third on the grid to pass Button into Turn 1 and come alongside the leading Renault. By the time they reached Becketts, the Colombian had muscled ahead of Alonso, in a move that effectively clinched his first win for McLaren. Raikkonen had a strong first lap too, moving up to eighth, but then got stuck behind a slow-moving Jarno Trulli-Michael Schumacher train, which ended his slim hopes of victory. He eventually moved up to third, thanks in part to the luckless Giancarlo Fisichella stalling during his second Renault pit stop. At the front, Alonso stayed in touch with Montoya, but vital time lost lapping Trulli (several drivers later complained of a lack of blue flags) meant he wasn’t close enough to challenge for the win in the final stages.

It really was a McLaren-Renault race, just 18 seconds covering their four cars at the finish. Button was a lonely fifth for BAR, 40 seconds behind Montoya, while Ferrari were even further off the pace, Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello crossing the line for sixth and seventh over a minute and a quarter after the winner. Ralf Schumacher took the final point for Toyota, just ahead of team mate Trulli, as once again the Japanese team struggled to convert a strong qualifying performance into race pace.

Most disappointed, however, were Williams, who were still unable to get to grips with the ‘Mark II’ FW27, despite running Nick Heidfeld in the older car to carry out a back-to-back comparison. Mark Webber did prove quicker in the newer machine, but only just, the pair coming home a distant 11th and 12th, leaving them plenty to do ahead of engine partner BMW’s home race in Germany.

Links: Results / Live Timing Archive, Photos, TV images.