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|
|Course length||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 controversial 2005 United States Grand Prix, 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.
Practice and qualifying
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.
The qualifying session ran in markedly cool conditions than expected but still the Michelin tyres had the advantage over the Bridgestones. Fernando Alonso scored his second consecutive pole position, ahead of Toyota's Jarno Trulli, while Räikkönen scored 3rd, which would become 13th after his penalty thus promoting Michael Schumacher up to P3. Sauber qualified for their best positions of the year in 10th and 11th. Williams, who had struggled all weekend despite several new aerodynamic updates to the car, were 13th and 14th while the Minardis and Jordans remained unable to improve on the last 4 positions. The session was incredibly close as the top 9 drivers were covered by less than a second.
The start of the race saw Alonso speed 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.
Rubens Barrichello was the first of the front-runners to stop; from 4th position. The following lap both Trulli and Michael Schumacher pitted allowing Schumacher to emerge ahead having been stuck behind Trulli's Toyota since the beginning. Alonso finally pitted on lap 20 while leading by nearly 30 seconds allowing him to rejoin without losing a position. The pitstop sequence allowed the two long-running McLarens into 2nd and 3rd positions with Juan Pablo Montoya ahead of Räikkönen. Both McLaren drivers continued their first stints before Montoya pitted on lap 25 rejoining ahead of Michael Schumacher to take 3rd. Räikkönen stayed out for three more laps and finally pitted on lap 28. Those laps did make the difference and he came out ahead of Montoya.
Patrick Friesacher became the second retirement when he stopped on lap 34. On lap 37, Christijan Albers crashed his Minardi heavily after spinning in turn 2. Alonso stopped for the second time on lap 41 rejoining with a 14-second margin to the second-placed Räikkönen. Meanwhile, Montoya began to struggle and ultimately 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 as Nick Heidfeld pitted complaining that his car was impossible to drive. With all but the top 4 cars lapped, Takuma Sato ran wide briefly into the gravel at Estoril corner, which cost him 10th position to David Coulthard. Fisichella stalled as he attempted to leave his pit box on lap 58. Renault mechanics had to restart his engine costing him two valuable positions.
With 8 laps remaining, Alonso lapped fourth-placed Jenson Button leaving only the top three drivers on the lead lap. Alonso crossed the finish line to take his fifth and Renault's sixth win of the season. Räikkönen ensured that the gap in the championship standings only increased by 2 points after finishing 2nd while Michael Schumacher picked up a timely podium for Ferrari allowing him to stay in the championship hunt too. Button came in 4th to score BAR's first points of the year, followed by Trulli, Fisichella, Ralf Schumacher and Villeneuve in the point scoring positions.
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.
This was the last appearance for Olivier Panis.
|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