2005 Chinese Grand Prix
|Race 19 of 19 in the 2005 Formula One season|
|Date||October 16, 2005|
|Official name||II Sinopec Chinese Grand Prix|
|Location||Shanghai International Circuit
|Course||Permanent Racing Facility|
|Course length||5.451 km (3.387 mi)|
|Distance||56 laps, 305.066 km (189.559 mi)|
|Time||1.33.242 on lap 56|
The 2005 Chinese Grand Prix was the final Formula One motor race of the 2005 Formula One season, which took place from October 14–16, 2005 at the Shanghai International Circuit. This was the second Chinese Grand Prix to be held since the event's 2004 inception. The race was won by the new World Champion, Renault's Fernando Alonso. McLaren driver Kimi Räikkönen was four seconds behind in second position, a reflection of their season long duel for the championship. Toyota driver Ralf Schumacher was third. Renault won the Constructors' Championship at this race; they had led McLaren by two points before the start of the race. This was the final race for the Minardi and Jordan teams, although both teams continued into 2006 under different names (Scuderia Toro Rosso and Midland F1 Racing respectively). This was also last win for a car equipped with a 6-speed gearbox.
Race day was fine and dry but it was not a fine start for Michael Schumacher and Christijan Albers. The Ferrari and Minardi crashed on the way to the grid. Schumacher was going quite slowly while Albers was much faster as he came up behind. It appeared to be a misunderstanding of who was going where and they just collided. Both had to start from the pit lane in the spare cars.
Jordan's Narain Karthikeyan ducked into the pits at the end of the formation lap to check out a problem. Pole-sitter Alonso led away at the front. Fisichella defended his second pace successfully from Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya moved his McLaren up one place to fourth.
Gainers in the first lap were David Coulthard's Red Bull up a place to sixth and Ralf and Mark Webber's Williams up one each to eighth and ninth. Takuma Sato, who's BAR started 17th, shot up to 12th but that was because he jumped the start. He got a drive through penalty for his efforts but later retired with a gearbox failure anyway.
Toyota's Jarno Trulli gained ground to 10th and the Sauber of Felipe Massa held station in 11th. Michael was struggling in 17th in the spare car, which had not raced before. Alonso led Fisichella by a comfortable margin, which he was increasing every lap, while the McLarens were just behind Fisichella but not making any move to threaten.
Perhaps McLaren was confident in its strategy and was waiting for it play out. Further down the field Antonio Pizzonia's Williams was 13th, followed by the Sauber of Jacques Villeneuve and Tiago Monteiro's Jordan. Michael was making slow progress, up to 16th, with Sato behind him after his penalty.
Webber was having a look or two at Ralf and Pizzonia at the Red Bull of Christian Klien, while Montoya was doing likewise at Raikkonen. Kimi was perhaps focusing more on keeping his teammate behind him than catching Fisichella. Giancarlo may have been controlling the pace somewhat but McLaren was not making an impression anyway.
The first pit stops started rolling through on about lap 16, with Monteiro in first then Coulthard and Trulli a couple of laps later. Then it all went a bit weird again. Montoya hit what looked like debris on the kerb and he dived into the pits for a tyre change. It turned out it was actually a drain cover sticking up and the safety car was deployed while it was fastened.
Seeing as it was just about in the first pit stop window, cars started reeling through for their stops. Montoya came back in for fuel—it's not permitted to refuel while changing a tyre—and dropped to 14th. The top three of Alonso, Fisichella and Raikkonen held formation, with Barrichello up to fourth and Ralf fifth.
Just as Sauber was on the radio to Massa warning him of Michael behind him getting ready to pounce when the safety car went in, Michael spun off all on his own! The Ferrari came to a halt on the grass and that was the end of Schumacher's rather unfortunate season. The safety car finally went in after 15 minutes and Raikkonen leapt straight onto the back of Fisichella's Renault. This time Fisichella wasn't having it and held him off, while Montoya was back in the pits yet again, this time to retire with an engine failure. That pretty much signalled the end of McLaren's hopes of winning the championship. A few laps later Karthikeyan had a big crash coming out of the corner onto the back straight, the Jordan impacting with the tyre barrier and then spinning across the track, scattering debris everywhere.
Villeneuve did well to avoid colleting any of it on his way past and thankfully Karthikeyan got out of the car, which was on fire at the back, under his own steam. The safety car was back out and many drivers took the opportunity to make their second stop and fuel to the end of the race. Ralf, Massa and Klien, who were running second, third and fourth after others went in, chose not to and it eventually paid off. Raikkonen managed to get ahead of Fisichella in their stops, which put the Finn behind Alonso. Raikkonen rejoined the track in second, although three cars between him and the lead Renault hadn't pitted, which held him back from closing up on Alonso. The safety car went in a few laps later and off they went again.
Sato struggled, which let Webber and Button past, and then the BAR pulled off onto the grass to retire with the gearbox gremlin. Webber then homed in on seventh placed Barrichello and the Ferrari was locking up quite often as the Williams tried to find a way past. Webber tried at the first corner but didn't make it.
Barrichello locked up again at the second to last corner and went wide, so Webber shot past with Button hanging on his rear wing. Coulthard, who was next in line, thought he'd have a go as well but Barrichello recovered enough to hold the Red Bull behind. Just before his second stop Klien set the fastest lap of the race up 'til then. In a Red Bull!
Massa took his second stop and rejoined in sixth while Coulthard finally got Barrichello at the same corner on the next lap. Klien got ahead of Massa after his last stop and Ralf and Barrichello filtered through on the next couple of laps. The points order was then Alonso, Raikkonen, Fisichella, Ralf, Klien, Massa, Webber and Button.
Webber was then harassing Massa and then next thing was Fisichella under investigation for holding up other cars when entering the pits during the first safety car period. He duly got a drive though penalty and it did seem on the replay that he had hampered Raikkonen and Michael. After serving it the Italian rejoined fourth behind Ralf.
And that was pretty much it to the chequered flag five laps later. Webber was doing his best to frighten Massa out of the way but Felipe didn't waver and there were no changes of position in the top eight. Albers had some kind of problem with the left front wheel—it looked like a wheel nut flew off—and retired to the pits.
There was a little bit more strangeness right at the end when Pizzonia ground to a halt on the last lap with a puncture and Robert Doornbos' Minardi stopped actually down the pit lane after the finish. Shanghai may not have seen a lot of racing as Suzuka did but all the oddities made it very unpredictable and quite entertaining.
Alonso took his seventh win of the season
Qualifying took place on October 15.
Standings after the race
- Bold text indicates the World Champions.
- Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
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|Chinese Grand Prix||Next race:
2006 Chinese Grand Prix