21 August 2005
Turkey 2005: Raikkonen faultless but...
McLaren-Mercedes number one driver, Kimi Raikkonen took a dominant victory in Istanbul Sunday, to win the Turkish Grand Prix by nearly 20 seconds.
The Finn, who started from pole, didn't make matters easy for himself though, and he lost out going into turn 1 at the start, when Giancarlo Fisichella went in front.
Raikkonen though didn't stay second long, and re-took the lead going into turns 9 and 10, when Fisi went wide and dropped back down to second place.
After that the 'ice-man' had a fairly uneventful time, and although he was kept honest in the first part of the race, with Fernando Alonso, only a second or so behind, after passing his Renault team-mate, Fisichella, on the second lap, the gap remained around 1-2 seconds until Alonso pitted around lap 13.
From then on Raikkonen had it in the bag to take the maximum points and cut the gap to Alonso, who leads the drivers' championship by two points - the gap down from 26 points to 24 with five races to go.
It was a bitter sweat race though for McLaren - and Raikkonen, as Juan Montoya lost a comfortable second in the dying laps of the race. The Colombian had fought his way up from fourth to 10 seconds or so in front of Alonso with only 3 laps to go when disaster struck. The Colombian went to lap Tiago Monteiro, but in the process managed to get punted off when the Jordan driver locked-up. JPM thus dropped right back into Alonso's clutches and a lap later he went wide in turn 8, and eventually finished a second behind the Spaniard at the flag. He subsequently blamed a flat spotted tyre for his error.
Alonso therefore took the runners-up spot and with it conceded only 2 points to Raikkonen. However he never looked likely to do better than third and today at least, the McLarens outclassed the Renaults.
Giancarlo Fisichella had to settle for fourth, the Italian again suffering from bad luck - has he had any other this year - bar for in Australia? He lost time in his first pit-stop with a refuelling rig malfunction and after that he was never likely to get anywhere near his team-mate or the McLarens.
Indeed he was lucky to hold of Jenson Button, who charged up from 13th on the grid to finish fifth in his BAR, just 2 seconds behind. The Englishman put in arguably one of the finest drives of his career, and despite a poor start, soon passed the Ferrari's and later Jarno Trulli to stage a remarkable comeback. If only he hadn't spun in qualifying then who knows what might have been possible - second possibly - a podium almost certainly? Fourth definitely...
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