Alonso win as Renault bag constructor title

new articles Uncategorized

Alonso has proved his critics wrong who labelled his winning of drivers title this season as a fluke by winning chinese grand prix.

World champion Fernando Alonso won an incident-packed Chinese Grand Prix here Sunday to end his season in style and hand his team Renault the constructors’ world championship.

The victory was Alonso’s seventh of the year, matching Kimi Raikkonen’s tally. It ended a campaign marked by the two drivers’ neck-and-neck rivalry which has brought a refreshing change to the sport after years of Ferrari domination.

After a gruelling 19-races, the most ever, Renault completed the year with 191 points to McLaren’s 182.

McLaren had been hot favourites to pip their rivals after winning the last six races, but Alonso made sure Renault took the honours with a workman-like drive that made a mockery of claims that McLaren had the fastest car.

It was a remarkable achievement for Renault, whose boss Flavio Briatore has built them back up from back-of-the-grid strugglers to their current level in just four years.

“To come here this weekend and dominate the race shows we have done the job right this year,” he said. “We have shown speed, reliability and the whole team has worked flat out to make this happen.

“I think this is a Renault dream team.”

Raikkonen put up a fight but could only manage to finish second, with Ralf Schumacher in a Toyota third. Alonso’s teammate Giancarlo Fisichella came fourth.

“It has been a fantastic season. Winning the constructors’ title was not crucial for us but it is very important,” said Alonso.

“All weekend has been perfect. This was probably my easiest race this year. I’m a little bit frustrated at only winning seven as the car could easily have won 10 or 11.”

A dejected Raikkonen congratulated Renault and Alonso but couldn’t hide his disappointment.

“Renault were simply too quick today. I don’t really know why,” he said. “We’ll try again next year. I’m a bit disappointed I could not catch Fernando, but that’s racing.”

In a dramatic race, the safety car was forced to come out twice – first on lap 20 when a broken drain cover had to be cleared from the track and then nine laps later when India’s Narain Karthikeyan’s totalled his Jordan.

After dominating the sport for so long, Ferrari were forced into third place in the constructors’ race, finishing with 100 points largely due to regulation changes that they failed to cope with.

Lead driver, seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, blew his chance of ending a miserable season on a high, crashing out twice.

The German star, 36, who qualified sixth, was forced to start from the pit lane in the spare car after a dramatic collision with Minardi driver Christijan Albers in the warm up lap.

Schumacher’s car drifted left as he slowly made his way round the Shanghai International Circuit and Albers, coming up on the inside, mounted the Ferrari, tearing off the left front wheel and puncturing the left rear.

Schumacher appeared to be at fault.

And then he crashed onto the gravel a third of the way through the race when he was following the safety car and driving slowly.

The mistake could easily have cost him third place in the drivers’ standings, but rival Juan Pablo Montoya in a McLaren was forced to retire soon after Schumacher.

“The weird ending pretty much sums up our season,” he said.

“The only positive thing is that I am third in the championship.”

On a warm but hazy day, Alonso, who started from pole, had the perfect start and opened a gap of 3.9 seconds over teammate Fisichella by lap two.

By the time of his first pit stop on lap 19, he had opened an unassailable lead, with McLaren’s day made worse by a poor second pit stop from Railkkonen.

Alonso took the chequered flag to wild celebrations in the Reanult pit.

At 24, he is Formula One’s youngest world champion.

The Spaniard has been a model of consistency this year, absorbing the relentless pressure with good humour and panache to seal the drivers title at the third-last race in Brazil when he put himself out of Raikkonen’s reach.

Rubens Barrichello, in his last drive for Ferrari before moving to BAR-Honda next year, capped a forgettable day for the Italian team, ending 12th.

While Shanghai will be remembered for Renault taking the world title, it has also stirred emotions as the last ever race for Minardi, Jordan and Sauber in their present formats.

Red Bull has taken over Minardi which next season will be known as Squadra Toro Rosso while Jordan is now run by Russian businessman Alex Shnaider and is being re-branded as Midland F1. Sauber was bought out by BMW.

For China, the race again gave the emerging market a taste of the speed, money and glamour that go hand-in-hand with Formula One, but ticket sales were down on the inaugural race last year.

Shanghai Grand Prix results:

1. Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault 1H39:53.618M, 2. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) McLaren 4.015, 3. Ralf Schumacher (GER) Toyota 25.376, 4. Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Renault 26.114, 5. Christian Klien (AUT) Red Bull 31.839, 6. Felipe Massa (BRA) Sauber 36.400,

7. Mark Webber (AUS) Williams 36.842, 8. Jenson Button (GBR) BAR 41.249, 9. David Coulthard (GBR) Red Bull 44.247, 10. Jacques Villeneuve (CAN) Sauber 59.977, 11. Tiago Monteiro (POR) Jordan 1:24.648, 12. Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Ferrari 1:32.812,

13. Antonio Pizzonia (BRA) Williams 1, 14. Robert Doornbos (NED) Minardi 1, 15. Jarno Trulli (ITA) Toyota 1, 16. Christijan Albers (NED) Minardi 5

Overall standings

1. Fernando Alonso (ESP) 133.0pts, 2. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) 112.0, 3. Michael Schumacher (GER) 62.0, 4. Juan Pablo Montoya (COL) 60.0, 5. Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) 58.0, 6. Ralf Schumacher (GER) 45.0,

7. Jarno Trulli (ITA) 43.0, 8. Rubens Barrichello (BRA) 38.0, 9. Jenson Button (GBR) 37.0, 10. Mark Webber (AUS) 36.0, 11. Nick Heidfeld (GER) 28.0, 12. David Coulthard (GBR) 24.0,

13. Felipe Massa (BRA) 11.0, 14. Jacques Villeneuve (CAN) 9.0, 15. Christian Klien (AUT) 9.0, 16. Tiago Monteiro (POR) 7.0, 17. Alexander Wurz (AUT) 6.0, 18. Narain Karthikeyan (IND) 5.0,

19. Christijan Albers (NED) 4.0, 20. Pedro de la Rosa (ESP) 4.0, 21. Patrick Friesacher (AUT) 3.0, 22. Antonio Pizzonia (BRA) 2.0, 23. Takuma Sato (JPN) 1.0, 24. Vitantonio Liuzzi (ITA) 1.0

1. Renault 191.0pts, 2. McLaren-Mercedes 182.0, 3. Ferrari 100.0, 4. Toyota 88.0, 5. Williams-BMW 66.0,

6. BAR-Honda 38.0, 7. Red Bull 34.0, 8. Sauber-Petronas 20.0, 9. Jordan 12.0, 10. Minardi 7.0