Alonso eases to French Grand Prix win

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Fernando Alonso drove a stunning race in Magny-Cours to win the French Grand Prix, maintaining his grip on the Formula One drivers’ battle…

The Spaniard, who started from pole, led from start to finish with his win extending his championship lead by two points.

Once or twice the McLarens looked like they might catch him, but it didn’t happen.

Kimi Raikkonen, who started from 13th on the grid because of a penalty for an engine change, also made a stunning effort driving his McLaren to second on the podium adding eight points to his championship tally.

However, it was a different story for his team mate Juan Pablo Montoya.

Having been matching Raikkonen’s pace for much of the Grand Prix he looked set for third when a technical problem caused him to retire on lap 46.

Michael Schumacher inherited the Columbian’s place on the podium, but 81.9 seconds behind Alonso and Raikkonen.

None the less, it was six points towards his recently revived championship charge and underlined the steady comeback of Ferrari.

Jenson Button took fourth place and his first points of the season in what was a good race for the Englishman.

It even looked like he might catch Michael Schumacher in the closing stages, but the world champion held him off.

Jarno Trulli finished fifth for Toyota with Giancarlo Fisichella behind him in sixth for Renault.

Ralf Schumacher finished seventh with Jacques Villeneuve in the last of the point paying positions in eighth for Sauber.

Barrichello, Coulthard and Sato made up ninth, 10th and 11th respectively with Mark Webber in 12th despite suffering burns for much of the race from the skid blocks on the underside of the car scraping the ground and building up heat.

Tiago Monteiro finished 13th ahead of Heidfeld who got 14th in what was a disappointing race for Williams despite having added new aero updates to their cars for this race.

Narain Karthikeyan finished 15th for Jordan and was the last of those who made it to the end.

As well as Juan Pablo Montoya four other cars didn’t finish.

The two Minardi drivers both suffered left rear tyre failures and Felipe Massa suffered hydraulic failure.

Christian Klien also had problems with fuel pressure.