Montoya takes the win, but the real glory is elsewhere
Third place for Fernando Alonso behind the rampant McLarens of Juan Pablo Montoya and Kimi Raikkonen was sufficient to crown the Spaniard as the youngest-ever world champion at the end of Sunday afternoon's Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos.
From pole position Alonso sped into the lead, but that was neutralised when the safety car was deployed following a start-line accident involving David Coulthard and the Williams of Mark Webber and Antonio Pizzonia. When the safety car pitted at the end of lap two Montoya lost no time drawing alongside Alonsos Renault before pushing into the lead down the back straight. Thereafter the Colombian had charge of the race apart from during his two pit stops, when team mate Raikkonen briefly took the initiative. Alonso had lost out to the Finn during the first round of stops, and after that was content to chase the silver cars home from a distance.
Elated in his overall triumph, he told the world: I come from a country that has no tradition in F1 and I had to fight alone as I had no help from anybody. I think this is the maximum I can achieve in my career and it is thanks to three or four people. No more than that.
At 24 years and two months old he finally supersedes the great Emerson Fittipaldi as the youngest crown holder; the Brazilian was 25 years and 10 months old when he took Jackie Stewarts crown in 1972. Like Fittipaldi, Alonso is also a trailblazer for his nation.
There was one bad point for Renault. McLarens long awaited 1-2, their first for five years, earned them 18 points. With Giancarlo Fisichella only fifth Renault took home 10, so McLaren now lead the constructors championship for the first time this season, 164 points to 162.
Fourth and sixth places for Ferrari, courtesy of Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello, kept the Scuderias third place safe from Toyota, who could only manage eighth place through Ralf Schumachers efforts. Jarno Trulli had a tough race and retired on the final lap when running well down the field.
It was also a bad day for BAR. Jenson Button started fourth but could do no better than seventh ahead of Schumacher Jnr, and only set the 10th fastest lap. Christian Klien fought hard on his way to ninth, ahead of Takuma Sato who one-stopped his way home ahead of Felipe Massa and Jacques Villeneuve whose Saubers simply werent quick enough. Trulli was classified 13th, ahead of Christijan Albers Minardi and Narain Karthikeyans Jordan. Their respective team mates, Robert Doornbos and Tiago Monteiro, each retired with engine failures.
The start-line shunt was triggered when David Coulthard tried to squeeze his Red Bull between the Williams of Webber and Pizzonia. The Scot and the Brazilian (in another stand-in race for his team) were eliminated on the spot as the Red Bull spun the Williams into Webber. The Australian rejoined the race 25 laps down after a long stop for repairs, and was not classified.