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Raikkonen cruises to Monaco victory
May 22, 2005 20:25 IST
Last Updated: May 22, 2005 21:50 IST
Kimi Raikkonen savoured a dominant Monaco Grand Prix win in Formula One's most glamorous race on Sunday as McLaren turned up the heat on championship leaders Renault.
While the Finn took the chequered flag for his second victory in a row, and the fourth of his career, Renault's title frontrunner Fernando Alonso was chased home in fourth place with his rear tyres almost gone.
Germany's Nick Heidfeld was runner-up for Williams, blasting past the Spaniard six laps from the finish as they exited the tunnel, with Australian team mate Mark Webber third for his first podium finish.
Ferrari's seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher, his team still without a victory this season after winning 15 of last year's 18 races, finished a frustrating seventh after another troubled afternoon.
The day belonged to Raikkonen, who moved up to second place in the championship and handed engine partners Mercedes a perfect present as they celebrated their 200th start in the world championship.
"It's a special place," said the Finn, who was runner-up in 2003 to Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya, then with Williams and now his team mate.
"Two years ago I got so close but I couldn't get past Montoya. Now finally it has happened so I'm very happy."
Alonso has 49 points to 27 for Raikkonen and 26 for Italian Jarno Trulli. Renault lead the constructors' standings with 63 points to McLaren's 51 and Toyota's 43.
Alonso, second for much of the race, was forced on the defensive and had to hang on grimly as a queue of rivals jostled behind him.
The last five points scorers all crossed the line in a blur.
"[Alonso] nearly crashed in front of me a few times but he did a really good job to hang on to the car," said Webber. "When you have no rear tyres you are going nowhere and Fernando was going nowhere today."
Schumacher, five times a winner in Monaco and triumphant 13 times in 18 races last year, was one of those fighting to the finish.
His race was wrecked when he hit the back of David Coulthard's Red Bull in a five-car jam caused by Minardi's Christijan Albers skewing across the road at Mirabeau and blocking the track on lap 25.
Coulthard, twice a winner here for McLaren, retired at the end of the lap while Schumacher, his front wing ripped off, pitted for a replacement and rejoined a lap down with the safety car deployed.
While Alonso and others refuelled during the safety car period, Raikkonen stayed out -- because the team called him in too late it transpired -- and pulled away before pitting after the half distance.
Montoya made an amazing recovery from being relegated to 16th place on the grid, punishment for causing an avoidable accident in Saturday's practice, to finish fifth.
Germany's Ralf Schumacher was a strong sixth for Toyota, after starting last. Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello took the final point in eighth place.
Just 18 cars started the race due to BAR being suspended for having an underweight car at last month's San Marino Grand Prix.
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