Alonso wins British Grand Prix

Defending world champion Fernando Alonso blew away his opposition on a windy day at Silverstone to take his fifth win of the season in the British Grand Prix on Sunday.

Spaniard Alonso (24) led from start to finish to give Renault their first Silverstone win as a constructor since 1983.

He beat German Michael Schumacher (37) by 13,9 seconds to extend his world championship lead over the Ferrari driver to 23 points. Finn Kimi Raikkonen was third for McLaren.

The race started in dramatic fashion with Alonso leading away from pole position ahead of Raikkonen and Schumacher.

The action was further back though, as American Scott Speed, driving a Toro Rosso, tipped the slow-starting Ralf Schumacher into a slide at the high-speed Beckett’s corner.

The 30-year-old German did superbly to recover the wayward Toyota, but as he rejoined the racing line, Australian Mark Webber smashed into his right-hand side in his Williams, eliminating both cars instantly and triggering the safety car while the mess was cleared up.

Speed also retired in the pits with front-end damage at the end of the lap.

After two laps at slow speed, racing was resumed, although Raikkonen nearly hit the rear-end of Alonso’s Renault as the safety car pulled in.

Halfway around the lap, Raikkonen attempted to overtake Alonso at the fastest point on the circuit — Hangar Straight — but was forced to back off, allowing Michael Schumacher’s Ferrari onto his tail.

Schumacher dived down the outside of the McLaren into the Abbey chicane, but was unable to pass as Raikkonen squeezed him to the edge of the track.

The order at the front remained static for the opening stint as Alonso opened up a five-second lead before the first round of pit-stops, which began with Schumacher at the end of lap 18.

The only man to gain any ground in the pit-lane was Fisichella as he passed Brazilian Felipe Massa’s Ferrari for fourth place.

But home hero Jenson Button (26) did not even make it that far as a suspected Honda engine failure forced his retirement on lap nine, after the Briton had made up seven places from his starting position.

Alonso continued to assert his superiority over his rivals as he extended his lead to 11 seconds by the second pit-stops and held it all the way to the chequered flag to collect the 13th win of his career.

Behind him, Schumacher used Ferrari’s superior pit work to leapfrog ahead of Raikkonen for second at the final pit-stops. Schumacher’s stationary time of 6,8 seconds was over a second faster than the Finn, who could take his seat next year.

Raikkonen then faced a tough challenge to keep a charging Fisichella behind as the Italian tried to make it two Renaults on the podium, but survived.

Behind the quartet, Massa took fifth after a quiet run, with Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya sixth for McLaren.

German Nick Heidfeld and Canadian Jacques Villeuenve rounded off the top eight to give BMW Sauber their first double-points finish since Australia.

British fans were left to cheer on David Coulthard, who was the only home driver to finish, in 12th place for Red Bull. — AFP

 

AFP

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