F1 » 10 July 2005
Britain 2005: Montoya takes first McLaren victory.
Heading to Silverstone, it was widely anticipated that a McLaren would be on top come the end of the race and as expected it was indeed a silver machine that took the chequered flag in the British Grand Prix.
However, having played a supporting role to Kimi Raikkonen for the first half of 2005, it was the turn of Juan Pablo Montoya to take to the top step of the podium as the Columbian secured his first win since Interlagos last season, picking up his first win, and indeed first podium finish, since making the switch to McLaren over the winter.
Behind Montoya, Fernando Alonso secured another valuable eight points for his championship challenge and more importantly outscored title rival Raikkonen who overcame a ten place grid penalty for the second week in a row to take third.
Knowing that Raikkonen would have to work his way up from twelfth place, Alonso was keen to build a lead up at the start, but as the lights went green it was Montoya who made the lightning getaway from the second row. With front-row man Jenson Button not getting away as well as he would have liked in the BAR, Montoya had jumped the Brit before the field reached Copse and was up alongside Alonso and fighting for the lead.
Sweeping round the outside of the opening corner gave Montoya the inside line on the run up to Maggots allowing the McLaren man through into the lead from Alonso, Button and Rubens Barrichello who, along with Giancarlo Fisichella in the second Renault, had jumped ahead of Jarno Trulli's Toyota at the start.
However one man who hadn't got away – and indeed hadn't even taken his place on the grid – was Takuma Sato in the second BAR, who had ground to a halt as the cars formed up on the grid at the end of the formation lap. Although the rest of the field was allowed to start the race, the safety car was called out as the Japanese driver was pushed into the pit-lane where the team elected to change strategy and fill the car with fuel before Sato eventually joined onto the rear of the field - albeit a lap down with a mystery electrical fault being blamed for the problem.
Although Sato had already been removed from the grid by the time the field completed the opening lap, the safety car had already been sent onto the track and led the field round for one lap before diving back into the pit-lane.
On the restart, the man on a mission was Raikkonen, who had climbed to eighth place on the opening lap and was fixed firmly on the rear of defending champion Michael Schumacher, who in turn was tucked up behind Trulli's Toyota. While Montoya and Alonso scampered away at the front, so began a frustrating stint for Raikkonen who, despite having a car that was clearly quicker than the two in front, was unable to find a way past. Having had a look at the Ferrari into Becketts immediately after the restart, Raikkonen swarmed all over the rear of Schumacher, the differing pace never more evident than going into Stowe on lap six when the Finn was forced to run wide simply due to the differing speed he was carrying into the corner in relation to his Ferrari rival.
With Trulli lacking pace of the top five ahead, Raikkonen could only watch on as the gap to the leaders increased, with Montoya and Alonso trading fastest laps out front. On lap 20, Trulli finally made his pit-stop to release both Schumacher and Raikkonen and two laps later Montoya followed him in - Alonso and Raikkonen both aware that the coming laps would give them the chance to move up a position.
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