Red Bull Racing Assisted By Superman To The Podium In Monte Carlo

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ALONSO CAPTURES VICTORY

30 May 2006

Within the confines of the glitz and glamorous Principality of Monte Carlo where traditions and classic races withstood the test of time, reigning Champ Fernando Alonso captured another victory taking his total to four this season, and at the other end of the pitlane, Red Bull Racing , finally, claimed their first ever podium in F1 after two years in the business.

Alonso’s win extended his championship lead to 21 points over the next rival Michael Schumacher (Ferrari). He totals 64 points from a possible 70 after 7 rounds of the F1 Championship.

The Spaniard enjoyed a trouble-free race after starting from pole position. He took the lead at the first corner, and then controlled his pace as he was chased throughout the first stint by Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren). He was out on a longer first stint which allowed him to emerge from the pitstop ahead of Raikkonen. At the safety car period on lap 49, most of the leading runners pitted for their second and final stops.

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Alonso (left) was able to breath a sign of relief following Raikkonen’s retirement during the safety car period.

From then on, he was able to maintain his cruising pace for the remaining 30 laps as Juan Montoya (McLaren, far left) was in a distant second.

His team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella, having been forced to start from ninth on the grid following a penalty, but drove a dynamic race to finish sixth. The combined result allowed the Renault F1 Team to consolidate its lead in the Constructors’ Championship, with a total of 91 points from seven races, and a 28-point lead over its nearest challenger, Ferrari.

Juan Pablo Montoya (right) salvaged a little pride for McLaren with a second place finish at the circuit he normally does well.

Team mate Kimi Raikkonen retired from second place on lap 51 having never been more than a second behind eventual race winner Fernando Alonso. Both drivers were on two-stop strategies.

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Raikkonen is fourth in the drivers’ ranking with 27 points and Montoya is now fifth with 23 points. McLaren holds third place in the Constructors’ Championship with 50 points.

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Michael Schumacher (left), was sent to the back of the grid for a driving infringement in qualifying.

The graceful 7-time champion commented,  “I am happy to have got up to fifth in the end, even though I started from pit lane. But I am still disappointed about what happened in qualifying especially in the light of the race performance.”

“I was amazed at how tough the Stewards’ decision was. I can understand that, from the outside, things might seem a bit strange, but if you don’t have all the information you cannot give an appropriate judgement. The facts have to be examined in an open manner. I have been in Formula 1 for sixteen years and I have got used to living with this sort of situation. We are only in the seventh round of the championship and there is still everything to play for.”

Panasonic Toyota Racing came away from the Monaco Grand Prix with a solitary point after a battling drive to 8th place from Ralf Schumacher(right) on a one-stop strategy.

But it was a day of heartbreak for Jarno Trulli, who came within five laps of making the podium after an inspired day’s work around the streets of the principality.

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The Italian made the most of a similar strategy to power his way up to 3rd place before he succumbed to a hydraulic failure, coasting to a halt on the way up the hill from Ste Devote. Toyota is scheduled to continue testing its new TF106B package at Barcelona this week in preparation for next month’s British Grand Prix.

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WilliamsF1’s Mark Webber’s hopes of finishing the race competitively ended when his car suffered an exhaust failure while he was running in a strong third place.

His teammate, Nico Rosberg (left), crashed out shortly after the safety car period.

Webber was clearly disappointed because he felt like he and the team deserved a good result in Monte Carlo, however, the car’s reliability let the team down as it blew up while the Australian was running third behind Alonso and Raikkonen. A chance of a podium was dashed with the car’s breakdown.

Team mate Nico Rosberg retired on lap 51 during the end of the safety car period. Rosberg felt his race was compromised due to his two-stop strategy while the others was on a one-stopper. The young German commented about his crash, “After the safety car came in, I felt I had a problem with the throttle sticking open and when I tried to slow down, it pushed me into the barriers.”

Rubens Barrichello (right) finished the thrilling Monaco Grand Prix in fourth place.

It was his best result of the year for the team, but it could have been even better had he not had a drive through penalty late in the race.

Team mate Jenson Button, by contrast, endured a difficult afternoon. He never really recovered from his 13th position on the grid and he came home in 11th place.

At the start, Barrichello converted his fifth position on the grid. He tucked in behind Juan Montoya and ahead  of Jarno Trulli, and he drove consistently prior to his first and only pitstop of the race on lap 45.

Barrichello and Trulli both pitted on the same lap, and Honda Racing F1 Team pit crew did a fantastic stop to ensure Barrichello had jumped ahead of Trulli during their stop.

Button drove a solid opening stint, but his pace was dictated by the slower cars ahead of him.

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At the start he dropped to 15th place and he had a good dice with Michael Schumacher, until the seven-time world champion passed him into the chicane on lap 20. Button made his only scheduled pitstop on lap 42.

During the safety car period and Mark Webber and Kimi Raikkonen retirements, both Honda Racing F1 Team drivers were able to gain two places in the space of two laps.

Barrichello was third until he was penalised for speeding in the pitlane and had to pit for his drive-through penalty. He dropped to fifth, but when Trulli retired on lap 74 he inherited fourth place, and by the chequered flag he was just one second behind third-placed David Coulthard.

Button made it to eleventh and remained there until the end of the race. The Honda Racing F1 Team now moves to Barcelona in Spain for a test session ahead of the British Grand Prix in two weeks time.

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BMW Sauber F1 Team still managed to collect two more championship points at the Monaco Grand Prix when Nick Heidfeld (left) finished seventh.

Team mate Jacques Villeneuve finished the race but was out of the points.

Superman had somehow assisted Red Bull Racing to their first ever podium finish. After two years of waiting, the day has come for RBR to achieve what many had only dreamt of.

David Coulthard (right) drove a steady race with a bit of SUPER luck, due to rivals’ retirements and penalties, to a third place finish and secure RBR’s first podium in F1.

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The Scot commented, “Fantastic. It’s been a couple of years since I was on the podium, so it’s especially great to finish on it here in Monaco. It’s the first podium for Red Bull Racing too and a great reward for all the team’s hard work.”

Team mate Christian Klien did not finish the race due to a lost of drive during the race. With that result, RBR cemented their role as the best among the two Red Bull teams.

The Toro Rossos of Vit Liuzzi and Scott Speed finished the race 10th and 13th respectively.

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MF1 Racing’s Christijan Albers (above left) and Tiago Monteiro both finished the race, as did Super Aguri F1’s Franck Montagny (right). Both MF1 drivers drove aggressively and displayed impressive pace, making the most of their opponents’ retirements and penalties. Albers claimed an impressive 12th-place finish, while Monteiro brought home his M16 in 15th position, despite being held up by slower cars for much of the race.

[View Results & Standings]

The teams now moves to prepare for the British Grand Prix in two weeks’ time.