Fernando Alonso won the first title in his F1 career on this day in 2005 with third place in the Brazilian Grand Prix behind the two McLarens of Raikkonen and Montoya.
After five consecutive titles for Michael Schumacher and Ferrari from 2000 to 2004 the world was eager to see a new champion.
FIA took care of that by changing the rules – tyres in 2005 had to last for qualifying and the entire race, and the engines had to last for two GPs.
Alonso built an early advantage ahead of Raikkonen in the McLaren with three wins and one third place in the first four races which he held for the most of the season. Although he had somewhat slower car of McLaren, Renault was at least second fastest, but far more reliable.
The Spaniard took the victories in Imola (Raikkonen retired from the lead with broken driveshaft) and Hockenheim (Raikkonen retired from the lead with a hidraulic failure), but Raikkonen also had three engine failures during practice sessions in France, England and Italy which dropped him 10 places at the grid each time.
Alonso had 36 points after the first four races and Raikkonen only seven which was almost impossible to catch up because Alonso had second fastest car with bulletproof reliabilty in the remaining races.
Only significant error Alonso made in 2005 was at the Canadian Grand Prix when he pushed his Renault too hard while leading in front of two McLarens and damaged the rear suspension at the exit of the second chicane. Alonso retired with broken suspension and Raikkonen was able to cut the gap for 10 points.
In his title winning season Alonso had 7 wins, 15 podiums, six pole positions and two fastest laps, and secured the title two races before the end. His maturity and consistency impressed everyone and he was deserving world champion despite McLaren’s misfortunes. He also impressed McLaren boss Ron Dennis who signed him at the end of 2005 season, but he will join the team in 2007.
Renault won the constructors’ title in the last race in China where Alonso claimed the last pole position and last victory in the V10 era.
First one-two for McLaren in 2005
Alonso started the 2005 Brazilian Grand Prix from pole position, but didn’t fight too much against faster McLaren drivers in the race as he knew third place would be enough for the title.
Montoya and Raikkonen fnished the race in first two places which was first 1-2 victory for McLaren in 2005 despite having the fastest car for most of the season.
McLaren drivers were close to 1-2 victories in Turkey, Hungary and Belgium, but Montoya damages his car on the way to the grid in Hungary and colided with backmarkers in Turkey and Belgium which ultimately cost them the constructors’ championship (Renault won the title with nine points advantage after 19 races).