Fernando Alonso won the second F1 race held in Bahrain on this day in 2005 and increased his lead in the driver’s championship, building a key advantage in front of Kimi Raikkonen in McLaren who will remain his only competitor in the rest of the season on his way to his first championship title.
The Renault F1 team was best prepared for the new challenges of the new 2005 F1 season where engines had to last two consecutive races and tyres had to last whole race distance.
The new Renault R25 was fastest and reliable and worked brilliantly on Michelin tyres while McLaren started slowly with their promising MP4-20, which in the first three races had problems with warming up its tyres for one lap qualifying.
The qualifying was separated in two sessions for the first six races of the season. On Saturday, they had one lap with a minimum amount of fuel, and on Sunday they also had one lap but with a race fuel load, after which the start order was determined by aggregating the laps of these two sessions. The system was discarded after the Monaco GP and from European GP only one Saturday session was held.
Alonso won the second consecutive pole position after Malaysia ahead of Michael Schumacher in Ferrari, Trulli in Toyota and two BMW Williams of Heidfeld and Webber. McLaren drivers de la Rosa and Raikkonen were just eight and ninth (Montoya missed Bahrain and San Marino GP due to tennis injury).
Alonso kept the lead at the start, but Schumacher was very fast in the new Ferrari F2005 (who had his debut in Bahrain for the first time in 2005, but only in Schumacher’s hands) and followed the Spaniards in less than a second behind in the first 11 laps.
But after that, Schumacher had to retire because of hydraulic problems, after which Alonso had an easy task of keeping the leading position ahead of Trulli in Toyota and securing a third podium and second victory in the first three races.
Third was Raikkonen in McLaren, but with 32 seconds behind Alonso while the fourth and fifth were Ralf Schumacher (Toyota) and Pedro de la Rosa (McLaren) who set the fastest lap of the race 1:31.447 which is still fastest lap in Bahrain GP.
“The R25 was perfect today, and the team was fantastic throughout the weekend,” Alonso praised his team.
“To win 26 of the possible 30 points is brilliant, but we have to be careful: we have done only three of the 19 races of the very long season [the longest in history at that time].”
“But I think if we remain competitive as we are now, and if we can avoid mechanical problems, it will be difficult to beat us.”
2005 BAHRAIN GP RESULTS
|5||10||Pedro de la Rosa||McLaren/Mercedes||57||1:30:23.519||1:04.988|
|7||12||Felipe Massa||Sauber/Petronas||56||1:29:20.790||1 lap|
|8||14||David Coulthard||Red Bull/Cosworth||56||1:29:32.674||1 lap|
|10||18||Tiago Monteiro||Jordan/Toyota||55||1:30:48.002||2 laps|
|13||21||Christijan Albers||Minardi/Cosworth||53||1:29:20.218||4 laps|
|15||Christian Klien||Red Bull/Cosworth||0||DNS|
DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP AFTER 3/19 RACES
|7||Juan Pablo Montoya||8||3||5|