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France 2005 - Alonso untouchable 11 Jul 2006

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault R25  waves to the crowd. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, French Grand Prix, Race Day, Magny-Cours, France, 3 July 2005 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) McLaren Mercedes MP4/20.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, French Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Magny-Cours, France, 2 July 2005 Renault fans.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, French Grand Prix, Race Day, Magny-Cours, France, 3 July 2005 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault R25 leads at the start of the race.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, French Grand Prix, Race Day, Magny-Cours, France, 3 July 2005 Jenson Button (GBR) BAR Honda 007 
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, French Grand Prix, Race Day, Magny-Cours, France, 3 July 2005

Renault came into their home race last year leading both championships, but only too aware of the mounting pressure from McLaren. Adding to that pressure was the presence of new Renault company Chairman, Carlos Ghosn, but the blue team proved more than up to the challenge, with Fernando Alonso taking a dominant victory, his fifth win of the season, to move further ahead of key rival Kimi Raikkonen in the standings. In fact such was Renault’s advantage, that not once did Alonso lose the lead, even during his three pit stops, and by the end he had lapped everyone up to third-placed Michael Schumacher.

Admittedly, life was made easier for Alonso by McLaren’s misfortune. While the Spaniard took pole, another engine penalty demoted Raikkonen to 13th on the grid. He clawed his way through the pack, though, eventually clinching a well-deserved second place after team mate Montoya retired with mechanical failure. Michael Schumacher, meanwhile, was never really on the pace of the two leading teams, but may have stayed closer had he not got trapped behind a slow-moving Jarno Trulli in the early stages.

In what was a relatively low-key race, Jenson Button secured his and BAR’s first points of 2005 with fifth place finishing ahead of Trulli. The luckless Giancarlo Fisichella fell to sixth after stalling in the pits at his final stop, but still finished well clear of the second Toyota of Ralf Schumacher in seventh. Jacques Villeneuve took a valuable single point for Sauber and may have done even better had it not been for a mistake which saw him venture off-track for a moment during his final stint.

The result meant Alonso extended his lead in the drivers’ championship to 24 points, heading Raikkonen 69 to 45, with Michael Schumacher a further five points adrift. Renault’s advantage in the constructors’ standings also grew to 18 points over McLaren, who moved into second place ahead of Ferrari.

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