Finn victorious after Montoya black flag and Alonso error
After disappointment in the previous round, last years Montreal race was payback time for Kimi Raikkonen, but only after another incident-filled afternoon. All through Friday and Saturday practice a McLaren-Renault showdown again looked on the cards, hence it was quite a surprise when qualifying produced a BAR-Ferrari front row, with Jenson Button edging Michael Schumacher for P1. However, few in the paddock believed either team had the strategy to challenge for victory - and they were right.
In fact, a dramatic race start saw Button and Schumacher swallowed up by both Renaults at the very first corner, with Giancarlo Fisichella leading his team mate until a hydraulic problem put him out on lap 33. Despite Juan Pablo Montoya chasing hard, it should have been a straightforward win for Fernando Alonso from there, but a rare driver error from the Spaniard saw him clip the wall, wrecking his R25s suspension. That left Montoya in front, all set for his first McLaren victory - that was until the safety car came out after Button bounced his BAR over the new kerb at the final chicane and into the infamous Wall of Champions.
The safety cars timing was not on Montoyas side, the Colombian missing out on the chance of a free stop, which countless others, including Raikkonen, took. He came in a lap later, but in his haste he failed to see the red light at the pit exit. The error was enough to get him black flagged, leaving Raikkonen to head for the chequered flag. The Finns run was not trouble free, however. A steering problem meant he was wrestling the car in the closing stages, allowing Schumachers Ferrari to close to within little more than a second.
It was a good day all round for Ferrari. Rubens Barrichello recovered from a pit-lane start to take third, while Felipe Massa, in the similarly powered Sauber, was an impressive fourth after withstanding intense pressure from various rivals, not least Mark Webber in the Williams in the dying laps. Ralf Schumacher claimed sixth for Toyota, while Red Bulls consistency continued, with David Coulthard and Christian Klien taking the remaining points.
Links: Results / Live Timing Archive, Photos, TV images.