Raikkonen Wins Action-Packed Race

Championship chasing Finn Kimi Raikkonen gave his title hopes a massive boost with a controlled victory as his leading rivals lost their cool in the Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday

McLaren driver Raikkonen, who suffered a crushing blow to his title hopes at the last race when he crashed out of the lead on the final lap, was a delighted winner after seeing title race leader Fernando Alonso hit the wall.

Raikkonen mastered temperatures of 33 degrees in a muggy Montreal to lead home World Champion Michael Schumacher, who also kept his cool to secure his second podium of the year.

But Alonso was left embarrassed after throwing away potential victory when a simple mistake put him into the wall midway through the race after Renault teammate Giancarlo Fisichella had also lost the lead with a car failure.

Pole sitter Jenson Button was another high-profile failure when he crashed out of a potential podium place while Juan Pablo Montoya was left fuming when he was disqualified from a potential second place.

Rubens Barrichello, who started from the pit lane after failing to set a time in qualifying, used good tactics and a strong race performance to make it two Ferraris on the podium as he claimed third.

Brazilian Felipe Massa finished in fourth place for Sauber with Australian Mark Webber fifth in his Williams and German Ralf Schumacher, a previous winner here, sixth for Toyota.

And Red Bull Racing again capitalised on their consistency to score a second double-points finish as Scot David Coulthard came home just ahead of Christian Klien in seventh and eighth respectively.

Barrichello, who failed to set a time in qualifying because of a gearbox failure, chose to start from the pit lane in a move that allowed him to refuel his car and alter his set-up.

Off the grid Button got away well but the Renault pair suddenly burst past on each side of the BAR-Honda with Fisichella getting to the inside of the first corner just ahead of Alonso.

Button held onto third but it was a terrible start for Schumacher, who dropped down to sixth when Montoya passed him by the first corner for fourth and Raikkonen snuck past to claim fifth in the second part of the turn.

Takuma Sato was forced to fight back after losing two places off the grid but Jarno Trulli, who had moved up three places into seventh, stood firm and the Japanese driver had a brief trip across the grass.

Home favourite Jacques Villeneuve, who started eighth after a strong qualifying run, saw his race ruined in the first lap when he was forced to pit for a new nose cone after some jostling in the pack.

By lap five the Renault pair were still nose to tail, separated by a second and trading fastest laps, while Button was four seconds behind with Montoya and Raikkonen behind him looking for a way past.

Narain Karthikeyan, who was criticised by his Jordan boss Colin Kolles before the start of the weekend for poor performances in the last two races, lost control of his car under braking and spun on lap eight.

Schumacher was the first of the leaders to stop for fuel when he pitted from sixth at the end of lap 12, proving that his front-row grid position was due in part to a light fuel load.

Pole man Button, too, was an early stopper and he came in on lap 15 as Fisichella and Alonso continued to run nose to tail with third-placed Montoya 8.6 seconds behind the leader.

Barrichello, meanwhile, was not making fast progress through the field but was fuelled up for a much longer stint than his teammate Schumacher and Sato sopped in the pits at the end of his 22nd lap.

Trulli, the best of the rest behind the Renault and McLaren cars, pitted on lap 23 for his first stop, and soon after the two lead teams burst into action to prepare for their first stops.

Alonso and Raikkonen came in at the end of lap 24 with Fisichella and Montoya pitting the following lap and Montoya almost snatching second when he came out slightly ahead of Alonso but went wide onto the grass.

Barrichello was the final driver to make a first stop for fuel when he pitted on lap 31 and returned to the field in 12th place as Fisichella and Alonso continued to rule the race up front.

But Alonso took the lead on lap 33 when Fisichella slowed with a problem and the unlucky Italian pulled into the pits to climb out of his car and walk away in disappointment once again after posting his fourth retirement of the year.

Button and Schumacher both made their second stops on lap 34 as Montoya set off in chase of Alonso with Raikkonen 5.6 seconds behind him in third and Button 23.3 seconds further back in fourth and Schumacher fifth.

Alonso then clipped the wall with his rear right tyre after sliding wide at turn nine on lap 39 and his costly mistake not only handed Montoya the lead but forced him into the pits and into retirement.

That left Montoya four seconds clear of Raikkonen at the front and Button in a podium position in third, with Schumacher 3.6 seconds behind the BAR-Honda driver in fourth.

Nick Heidfeld retired from ninth when smoke plumed from the rear of his Williams on lap 44 but Sato returned to the field after 46 laps in an apparent plan to post a finish and secure an improved position for qualifying at the next race.

But there was bad news for BAR when Sato's teammate Button clipped the inside kerb on the final corner on lap 47 and speared into the outside wall, throwing away a potential podium finish as he walked away from his badly damaged car.

The safety car was brought out immediately and Raikkonen shot straight into the pits, as did Schumacher from third and most of the other runners, but Montoya had to wait a further lap to make his stop and lost the lead to Raikkonen.

The safety car came back in at the start of lap 52 and Raikkonen pulled clear but Montoya was disqualified one lap later for exiting the pit lane on a red light and pulled into the pits to the frustration of the McLaren mechanics.

That left Schumacher just 2.8 seconds behind Raikkonen in second with Trulli on a podium in third and Barrichello all the way up to fourth ahead of Massa, Webber, Ralf Schumacher and Coulthard.

But Trulli lost third when he suffered a brake failure on lap 62 and handed the podium place to the hard-charging Barrichello, to the delight of Ferrari boss Jean Todt.

Sato spun off the track at turn 10 and retired with brake failure on lap 65 but there were no such problems for McLaren or Ferrari as Raikkonen held station with Schumacher at the front to the end.


The Canadian Grand Prix
Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal, Canada;
70 laps; 305.270km;
Weather: Cloudy.


Pos  Driver        Team                  Time        
 1.  Raikkonen     McLaren-Mercedes (M)  1h32:09.290
 2.  M.Schumacher  Ferrari          (B)  +     1.137
 3.  Barrichello   Ferrari          (B)  +    40.483
 4.  Massa         Sauber-Petronas  (M)  +    55.138
 5.  Webber        Williams-BMW     (M)  +    55.779
 6.  R.Schumacher  Toyota           (M)  +     1 lap
 7.  Coulthard     Red Bull-Cosworth (M) +     1 lap
 8.  Klien         Red Bull-Cosworth (M) +     1 lap
 9.  Villeneuve    Sauber-Petronas  (M)  +     1 lap
10.  Monteiro      Jordan-Toyota    (B)  +    3 laps
11.  Albers        Minardi-Cosworth (B)  +    3 laps

Fastest Lap: Raikkonen, 1:14.384

Not Classified/Retirements:

Driver        Team                  On Lap
Trulli        Toyota           (M)    62
Montoya       McLaren-Mercedes (M)    52
Button        BAR-Honda        (M)    46
Heidfeld      Williams-BMW     (M)    43
Sato          BAR-Honda        (M)    40
Friesacher    Minardi-Cosworth (B)    39
Alonso        Renault          (M)    38
Fisichella    Renault          (M)    32
Karthikeyan   Jordan-Toyota    (B)    24

World Championship Standing, Round 8:                

Drivers:                    Constructors:             
 1.  Alonso        59        1.  Renault           76
 2.  Raikkonen     37        2.  McLaren-Mercedes  63
 3.  Trulli        27        3.  Toyota            47
 4.  Heidfeld      25        4.  Williams-BMW      47
 5.  M.Schumacher  24        5.  Ferrari           45
 6.  Webber        22        6.  Red Bull-Cosworth 22
 7.  Barrichello   21        7.  Sauber-Petronas   12
 8.  R.Schumacher  20       
 9.  Fisichella    17       
10.  Coulthard     17       
11.  Montoya       16       
12.  Massa          7       
13.  Wurz           6       
14.  Villeneuve     5       
15.  Klien          4       
16.  de la Rosa     4       
17.  Liuzzi         1       
All timing unofficial
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