26 September 2005

espnstar.com - powered by ESPN STAR Sports: Formula 1: News Details

Record-breaking Alonso takes world title

By Will Gray

SAO PAULO (AFP) - Fernando Alonso became Formula One's youngest ever world champion when he finished third here Sunday as Juan Pablo Montoya claimed an empty victory for McLaren in the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Spaniard Alonso, 24, was outclassed as Montoya led team-mate Kimi Raikkonen home to score McLaren's first one-two in more than five years but the Renault driver did enough to secure the six points needed for the championship trophy. ...

Alonso has been a model of consistency this year and he absorbed the pressure with ease to finally end the five-year reign of outgoing world champion Michael Schumacher and Ferrari.

McLaren, however, proved they are the top team with an impeccable performance that boosted their hopes of beating Renault to the constructors' trophy as they eased ahead by two points with two races to go. ...

Montoya was never challenged on his way to his third victory of the season but Raikkonen came home seconds behind already sure that his slim hopes of chasing down Alonso for the title were over.

It was an easy victory for McLaren, who were thankful the threatening clouds over the Sao Paulo circuit never broke, but Raikkonen was left rueing a lack of consistency for costing him the title.

Alonso made a clean getaway from pole to lead Montoya into the first corner but there was carnage behind when Antonio Pizzonia collided with David Coulthard's Red Bull and was spun into his Williams team-mate Mark Webber.

Pizzonia and Coulthard retired with Webber coming in for repairs as the safety car was deployed due to debris on the track and when it came back in at the start of lap three Alonso stayed ahead of Montoya into the first corner.

But the Colombian was not waiting around and he stole the lead on the run up to the fourth turn then raced into the distance while Alonso fended off the challenge of championship rival Raikkonen.

Alonso made his first stop some nine laps earlier than Raikkonen and the Finn used that time to jump past the Renault driver and into second place with Fisichella losing out to Michael Schumacher in the stops and dropping to fifth.

Button and Barrichello, who will be team-mates at BAR-Honda next year, provided the entertainment in the middle of the race as they battled for sixth place, Barrichello eventually easing past in a slick move at turn one on lap 44.

Montoya stayed ahead of Raikkonen through the second set of stops and the McLaren pair eased home to take the victory as Alonso pumped his fist in his championship glory.

German Michael Schumacher, who relinquished his crown when he dropped out of the title race in Italy earlier this month, appropriately followed the new wave of drivers home in fourth place for Ferrari.

Italian Giancarlo Fisichella finished fifth for Renault with Brazil's Barrichello pleasing his home crowds with a sixth place finish in his last home race for Ferrari.

Briton Jenson Button was a disappointing seventh after improvements to his BAR-Honda car failed to push him higher up the field, and Ralf Schumacher brought home the final point for Toyota.

But it was Alonso's day as the Spaniard, who took the lead in the title race back in March and has never given it up, took a composed approach and came home with the crown.

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