2005 French Grand Prix
|Race 10 of 19 in the 2005 Formula One season|
|Date||July 3, 2005|
|Official name||Mobil 1 Grand Prix de France|
|Course||Permanent racing facility
4.411 km (2.74 mi)
|Distance||70 laps, 308.77 km (191.8 mi)|
|Time||1:16.423 on lap 25|
The 2005 French Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race, held on July 3, 2005, at Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, near Magny-Cours, in France. The race, contested over 70 laps, was the tenth round of the 2005 Formula One season, and was won by Renault driver Fernando Alonso. McLaren driver Kimi Räikkönen, Alonso's main title rival, finished the race in second position whlist Michael Schumacher completed the podium for the Ferrari team.
The 2005 French Grand Prix was the tenth race of the 2005 season and after the Indygate debacle, Formula One returned to Europe for the busiest month in its 56-year history, with Magny-Cours being the first of four races to be held in the five weekends of July. At the start of the weekend, McLaren and Renault appeared to be the fastest, topping the time sheets for both practice sessions on Friday. However, Kimi Räikkönen suffered an engine failure, using a new-spec Mercedes V10, and was forced to drop 10 grid positions as a result. Renault set the two fastest times in Saturday practice 1 by over 1 second, but only 9 cars ran in the session. Giancarlo Fisichella was quickest in the final practice session before qualifying, with Räikkönen was close behind.
Qualifying ran almost in the same order as the grid for the previous race, as 14 cars withdrew before the first lap. The Minardis and Jordans ran uncharacteristically late in the session, but were unable to improve on the last 4 positions. Williams, who had struggled all weekend despite several new aerodynamic updates to the car, were 13th and 14th, while Sauber scored their best positions of the year in 10th and 11th. Fernando Alonso scored pole position, ahead of Toyota's Jarno Trulli, while Räikkönen scored 3rd, which would become 13th after his penalty. The top 9 drivers in qualifying were covered by less than one second.
The start of the race saw Alonso acclerate away quickly, leaving Trulli to fend off Michael Schumacher through the first few corners, while Rubens Barrichello leap-frogged Takuma Sato into 4th place. Räikkönen was able to pass both Mark Webber and Ralf Schumacher to move into 11th position by the end of the first lap. By the second lap, Alonso had extended his lead to nearly 3 seconds, while Räikkönen moved up another position to 10th by passing Jacques Villeneuve. Red Bull's Christian Klien became the first retirement of the race, pulling off on lap 2 because of a lack of fuel pressure. Alonso continued pulling away from the pack, setting consecutive fastest laps to extend his lead over Trulli to 7 seconds after just 5 laps. Trulli, who was holding Michael Schumacher up, was lapping around 1.5 seconds slower than Alonso, but Schumacher was unable to find a way past for several laps, allowing Alonso to increase his lead to 19 seconds before the first drivers began to take their first pitstops.
Minardi driver Patrick Friesacher was the first to pit, on lap 13, followed by Takuma Sato, Felipe Massa, Ralf Schumacher and Tiago Monteiro on lap 15, then Narain Karthikeyan and Christijan Albers on lap 16. On lap 17, Rubens Barrichello was the first of the front-runners to stop, from 4th position. The following lap, both Trulli and Michael Schumacher pitted, giving Schumacher his first chance to get ahead of the Italian. Schumacher took on very little fuel, while Trulli took on more than expected, allowing Schumacher ahead as they exited the pits. Nick Heidfeld, struggling in 13th position also made his first pitstop. Alonso finally pitted on lap 20, leading by nearly 30 seconds, allowing him to rejoin without losing a position. The pitstop sequence allowed the two long-running McLaren drivers into 2nd and 3rd positions, with Juan Pablo Montoya ahead of Räikkönen. On lap 21, David Coulthard made his pitstop, rejoining alongside, and nearly colliding with Heidfeld, who he had been battling with all afternoon. Heidfeld retained his position. Meanwhile, Sato managed to outbrake Barrichello at the Adelaide hairpin, taking 6th.
Both McLaren drivers continued their first stint, as Räikkönen set consecutive fastest laps on laps 24 and 25, before Montoya took his pitstop, rejoining ahead of Michael Schumacher to take 3rd. Räikkönen continued to put in very quick laps in an attempt to leap-frog Montoya, cutting the gap to Alonso to 9.2 seconds. Räikkönen finally pitted on lap 28, highlighting his incredible qualifying performance, taking 3rd despite having significantly more fuel than those ahead of and behind him. Räikkönen's quick laps paid off, allowing him to retain his 2nd position over Montoya. Sato attempted another move at the hairpin, this time on Trulli, but lost several positions as he outbraked himself and ran wide. On lap 30, Alonso had extended his lead to 30 seconds, which would allow him an extra pitstop without losing track position.
Michael Schumacher was again one of the first front-runners to pit, refuelling on lap 34 for his second stop. Friesacher became the second retirement, spinning into a gravel trap as a result of a puncture to his Bridgestone tyre. Lap 38 saw Heidfeld make his second stop for the race, but he was still struggling outside the top 10. Barrichello pitted on lap 40, dropping back from 6th to 10th position. On the same lap, Christijan Albers spun into the gravel after braking for the hairpin, having suffered a similar problem as his teammate Friesacher, which ended his race. Alonso, with a substantial lead, took his second stop on lap 41, rejoining with a 14 second margin to second-placed Räikkönen. Meanwhile Montoya
||This article contains weasel words: vague phrasing that often accompanies biased or unverifiable information. (March 2009)|
was beginning to struggle and began lapping 2 seconds off the pace. He retired from 3rd position on lap 46, with a hydraulics failure. This allowed Michael Schumacher to move into the final podium position, which he held after his final pitstop on lap 51.
Williams' dismal day continued, with Heidfeld pitting in consecutive laps, complaining that his car was impossible to drive. The team inspected a possible suspension fault, but it later emerged that the handling problem had been caused by a faulty differential. With all but the top 4 cars lapped, Sato ran wide briefly into the gravel at Estoril corner, which cost him 10th position to David Coulthard. Lap 55 saw Räikkönen make his second and final stop for the race, leaving him in 2nd position, around 33 seconds behind Alonso. Alonso pitted for his final stop on lap 58, rejoining still ahead of Räikkönen. Fisichella gained ground on Michael Schumacher, but he required another pitstop, which he took on lap 58. Fisichella stalled as he attempted to leave his pit box, forcing the Renault mechanics to restart his engine, which cost him two valuable positions. Heidfeld also pitted on the same lap, which dropped him further out of contention.
With 8 laps remaining, Alonso lapped fourth-placed Jenson Button, leaving only the top three drivers on the lead lap. Alonso soon crawled over the finish line on the final lap to take his fifth, and Renault's sixth win of the season. Räikkönen ensured the gap in the championship standings only widened by 2 points by finishing 2nd, while Michael Schumacher picked up a timely Ferrari podium, allowing him too to stay in the championship hunt. Button came in 4th to score BAR's first points of the year, followed by Trulli, Fisichella, Ralf Schumacher and Villeneuve in the pointscoring positions. The result left Alonso still with a substantial 24 point championship lead, with 69 points to Räikkönen's 45, while Michael Schumacher was close behind on 40. Renault still led the constructors championship on 89 points, with McLaren in second on 71, just 2 points ahead of Ferrari on 69.
The bottom 6 teams in the 2004 Constructors' Championship were entitled to run a third car in free practice on Friday. These drivers drove on Friday but did not compete in qualifying or the race.
|McLaren-Mercedes||Pedro de la Rosa|
|Red Bull-Cosworth||Vitantonio Liuzzi|
† Kimi Räikkönen received a 10 position grid penalty for an engine change on Friday.
Standings after the race
- Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
2005 United States Grand Prix
|FIA Formula One World Championship
2005 British Grand Prix
2004 French Grand Prix
|French Grand Prix||Next race:
2006 French Grand Prix