Germany 2005 - McLaren miss out 25 Jul 2006
Could Mercedes make amends for the disappointment of previous rounds and get it right on home soil? That was the question on everyones lips as the season moved to Hockenheim last year. McLaren's sheer pace was obvious throughout practice - they topped every session - and with no reliability problems heading into qualifying, a silver one-two on the grid looked to be a foregone conclusion.
That was until the last corner of the last lap of the session, when the rear of Juan Pablo Montoyas car stepped out as he brushed the kerb. Raikkonen had controlled the oversteer at the same point on his way to a clear pole position. Montoya failed to do so and in an instant he was into the wall and on to the last row of the grid. BAR were the main beneficiaries, Jenson Button claiming a front-row slot for the second race in succession. Championship leader Fernando Alonso was right behind Raikkonen, with Renault team mate Giancarlo Fisichella alongside in support. And to throw some extra spice into the mix, Michael Schumacher confounded Ferraris poor form to take fifth before his home fans.
Raikkonen and Alonso made a clean break at the start, pursued by Schumacher, who got the jump on both Button and Fisichella. Further back there was plenty of first-lap drama, with BARs Takuma Sato, Williams Mark Webber and Toyotas Jarno Trulli all needing to pit for repairs after minor clashes. Webber suffered most, the Australian eventually rejoining 11 laps later after a lengthy suspension fix. Amid the chaos, Montoya leapt from last to 11th, Felipe Massa went from 13th to seventh for Sauber and David Coulthard made up five places to move into sixth for Red Bull.
Montoya quickly gained two more places and a long first stint helped vault him to third. Then, just as things were working out for McLaren, disaster struck, Raikkonens car coasting to halt with a hydraulics problem on lap 36. With Montoya too far back to challenge, Alonso was gifted an easy win. There was still plenty of excitement behind, however. Schumacher was forced to drive more and more defensively as the rear Bridgestones on his Ferrari began to fade. Button took advantage just before his second stop and went on to secure a comfortable podium, while Fisichella also made it past the German in the dying stages to take fourth, extending Renaults championship advantage over McLaren still further. Ralf Schumacher finished sixth for Toyota, right on his brothers tail, closely followed by Coulthard and Massa.
Links: Results / Live Timing Archive, Photos, TV images.