McLaren 1-2 in Brazil; Alonso Champion

Fernando Alonso secured this year's world title when he eased to third place in Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix as Juan Pablo Montoya claimed victory for McLaren at Interlagos

McLaren 1-2 in Brazil; Alonso Champion

Spaniard Alonso needed a podium to secure his championship crown and despite seeing his Renault team outclassed by McLaren once again he did enough to bring home the trophy and end Michael Schumacher's reign at the top.

It was McLaren's race, as Montoya led home Finnish teammate Kimi Raikkonen in the team's first one-two finish for more than five years, but it has been Alonso's championship as he proved his consistency once again.

With Alonso set to secure the title sitting in third the McLaren pair were free to race and Montoya, who took the lead from second place, made Raikkonen settle for second best on two accounts.

The title battle is now over for Raikkonen but it is well and truly alive for McLaren with their one-two finish putting them two points ahead of Renault in the Constructors' Championship with two races to go.

Outgoing World Champion Michael Schumacher finished a respectable fourth for Ferrari with Giancarlo Fisichella fifth in his Renault and Rubens Barrichello sixth in the second Ferrari.

Jenson Button managed only seventh place for BAR-Honda, his team's improvements failing to push him higher, and Ralf Schumacher came home in the final points-scoring position for Toyota.

Alonso made a clean getaway to lead Montoya into the first corner and Raikkonen also made a strong start from fifth to climb into third with Fisichella fourth and Button dropping behind Michael Schumacher into sixth from third.

There was carnage behind the lead pack when Antonio Pizzonia, starting from 13th on the grid, collided with David Coulthard's Red Bull Racing machine and was spun into his Williams teammate Mark Webber.

The safety car was deployed due to the debris on the track and Pizzonia and Coulthard were immediately out with Webber pulling into the pits for repairs at the end of the first lap before going back on track later in the race.

The safety car came back in at the start of lap three and Alonso timed it perfectly to lead Montoya into the first corner but the Colombian made it past to take the lead on the run up to the fourth corner.

Montoya raced into the distance while Alonso fended off the challenge of championship rival Raikkonen before pulling away and holding the gap to Montoya to a relatively constant three seconds.

Alonso pitted from second at the end of lap 22, Fisichella was in on the next lap as was Rubens Barrichello while Michael Schumacher and Button waited four more laps before both pitting on lap 26.

Montoya came in from the lead on lap 28, six laps later than Alonso, but Raikkonen continued to set fastest laps before finally coming into the pits at the end of lap 31.

Raikkonen came out just behind teammate Montoya in second, having jumped Alonso through the stops, and with the pack re-shuffled Fisichella had also lost out to Michael Schumacher and dropped to fifth.

Robert Doornbos pulled into the pits on the leaders' 35th lap to retire his Minardi with an apparent engine failure after telltale smoke signals had been emitted a few laps earlier.

Takuma Sato finally pitted at the end of the 37th lap having fuelled up and changed his engine before the race and his first stop, the last of all the cars, put him out in tenth place.

Barrichello was hounding Button for sixth place and the two future teammates enjoyed an aggressive battle before Barrichello made it past in a slick move through the first set of turns on lap 44.

Montoya and Raikkonen held station up front separated by around three seconds with Alonso 11 seconds back in a lonely third and Fisichella pushing Schumacher for fourth place 28 seconds behind the McLaren pair.

Alonso made his second stop on lap 48 with Fisichella following the previous trend and coming in one lap later, Montoya made his final stop on lap 54 at the same time as Michael Schumacher and Button came in on lap 56.

Raikkonen stayed out and finally pitted on lap 59 but he still failed to do enough to get past Montoya, who eased back in front as the Finn came out of the pits in turn one to leave the McLaren pair on for an easy finish.

PROVISIONAL RACE RESULTS

The Brazilian Grand Prix
Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil;
71 laps; 305.909km;
Weather: Cloudy.

Classified:

Pos  Driver        Team                  Time        
 1.  Montoya       McLaren-Mercedes (M)  1h:29:20.574
 2.  Raikkonen     McLaren-Mercedes (M)  +     2.527
 3.  Alonso        Renault          (M)  +    24.840
 4.  M.Schumacher  Ferrari          (B)  +    35.668
 5.  Fisichella    Renault          (M)  +    40.218
 6.  Barrichello   Ferrari          (B)  +  1:09.173
 7.  Button        BAR-Honda        (M)  +     1 lap
 8.  R.Schumacher  Toyota           (M)  +     1 lap
 9.  Klien         Red Bull-Cosworth(M)  +     1 lap
10.  Sato          BAR-Honda        (M)  +     1 lap
11.  Massa         Sauber-Petronas  (M)  +     1 lap
12.  Villeneuve    Sauber-Petronas  (M)  +     1 lap
13.  Trulli        Toyota           (M)  +     1 lap
14.  Albers        Minardi-Cosworth (B)  +    2 laps
15.  Karthikeyan   Jordan-Toyota    (B)  +    3 laps

Fastest Lap: Raikkonen, 1:12.268

Not Classified/Retirements:

Driver        Team                  On Lap
Monteiro      Jordan-Toyota    (B)    56
Webber        Williams-BMW     (M)    45
Doornbos      Minardi-Cosworth (B)    35
Pizzonia      Williams-BMW     (M)    1
Coulthard     Red Bull-Cosworth(M)    1


World Championship Standing, Round 17:                

Drivers:                    Constructors:             
 1.  Alonso       117        1.  McLaren-Mercedes 164
 2.  Raikkonen     94        2.  Renault          162
 3.  M.Schumacher  60        3.  Ferrari           98
 4.  Montoya       60        4.  Toyota            81
 5.  Fisichella    45        5.  Williams-BMW      59
 6.  Trulli        43        6.  BAR-Honda         33
 7.  R.Schumacher  38        7.  Red Bull-Cosworth 27
 8.  Barrichello   38        8.  Sauber-Petronas   17
 9.  Button        32        9.  Jordan-Toyota     12
10.  Webber        29       10.  Minardi-Cosworth   7
11.  Heidfeld      28       
12.  Coulthard     21       
13.  Villeneuve     9       
14.  Massa          8       
15.  Monteiro       7       
16.  Wurz           6       
17.  Karthikeyan    5       
18.  Klien          5       
19.  de la Rosa     4       
20.  Albers         4       
21.  Friesacher     3       
22.  Pizzonia       2       
23.  Liuzzi         1       
24.  Sato           1       
       
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