McLaren fulfil their promise 08 May 2005
Silver arrows firmly back on target
With Kimi Raikkonens commanding victory in Spain the already compelling 2005 season got even more interesting - and as the year progresses it looks set to become even less predictable.
Having displayed race-winning potential for some time, McLaren have now proved they have a package to match Renault, while Michael Schumachers performance at San Marino suggests that, under certain circumstances, Ferrari also have the capacity to dominate the field.
For Kimi Raikkonen, victory in Spain helped offset the bitter disappointment he suffered at Imola when driveshaft failure forced him to retire from the lead.
His pace in Barcelona was again commanding, turning his P1 grid position into a unassailable lead that he held from the start to the end of the race, and even during his two pitstops. Renault will undoubtedly be alarmed at the effortless manner in which the Finn built up a 30-second margin over second-placed Alonso during the opening stages.
Juan Pablo Montoya, returning from injury after missing the Bahrain and San Marino races, had a more eventful time, but still showed the progress McLaren have made with their MP4-20 machine. Having qualified down in seventh place he lost a position to Michael Schumacher during the start before taking it back two laps later after the restart. He then survived a spectacular high-speed spin through turns seven and eight, miraculously regaining the track without losing a single position.
His race was later compromised by a fuel-rig problem that forced him to take an extra pitstop, but his eventual seventh-place and the two points it gave him have moved him into joint seventh in the drivers championship.
In the constructors championship, 12 points in Spain have moved McLaren to within three points of second place Toyota (with 37 and 40 points respectively.) If the Woking-based team can continue this form for the rest of the season then they look set to become a major championship force.