3 April 2005
Bahrain 2005: Two on the trot for Alonso.
Renault's Fernando Alonso has won the Bahrain Grand Prix to take his second win in succession following his success two weeks ago in Malaysia.
The Spaniard led from start-to-finish and had a relatively easy race to give the regie their third victory from the opening three races - and their 100th F1 win in total. It was another dominant display and following a good start he was never really challenged, despite some early pressure from Michael Schumacher, prior to the German spinning off on lap 12 after a hydraulic failure.
Jarno Trulli was left to come home second and net another podium for Toyota, 13.4secs behind his former team-mate.
The Italian though never really looked likely to trouble Alonso, and as the race went on realising they wouldn't be able to haul in the Renault, Toyota instructed Trulli to ease off, look after his engine and ensure he finished - something that is now crucial as engines have to last for two events.
Kimi Raikkonen completed the top three in the McLaren-Mercedes MP4-20, another 20secs or so down the road. The Finn enjoyed a good race after starting from ninth on the grid, and immediately made up some places, before his rivals in front hit problems and fell back, Nick Heidfeld going out with smoke pouring from the back of his FW27 on lap 25, while Mark Webber spun with about a third of the race to go, dropping him down the pack.
Ralf Schumacher was fourth in the second Toyota, the German losing out somewhat in the first round of pit-stops, after going light in qualifying two to get himself up from eleventh on the provisional grid on Saturday, to sixth this morning.
Pedro de la Rosa though was the undoubted star of the event on his return to 'F1 racing' standing in for the injured Juan Montoya.
The Spaniard lost out slightly at the start but never gave up and enjoyed an eventful race, battling with a host of drivers before passing Jenson Button, Rubens Barrichello and Webber on route to fifth. He may have made a few clumsy lunges at times, but at the finish he was there and in a good position, especially when you consider this was his first F1 race since driving for Jaguar way back in 2002.
Webber was sixth for Williams, a disappointing day overall for the Aussie after he had looked set to finish on the podium. His spin 20 laps prior to the finish cost him dear, and that after his tyres were wreaked something that didn't help him one little bit when he was battling with de la Rosa.
Felipe Massa and David Coulthard rounded out the top eight, the Brazilian taking two points to get Sauber off the mark. DC meanwhile despite having a pretty awful weekend by his own accounts, and never getting to grips with the Sakhir circuit at least netted the final point. The fact he had a number of incidents, hitting Barrichello at the start and Jacques Villeneuve near the end though will not have endeared him to his rivals.
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