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Last Updated: Sunday, 28 May 2006, 13:47 GMT 14:47 UK
Alonso survives Monaco thriller
Fernando Alonso
1 F Alonso (Renault)
2 JP Montoya (McLaren)
3 D Coulthard (Red Bull)
4 R Barrichello (Honda)
5 M Schumacher (Ferrari)
6 G Fisichella (Renault)
7 N Heidfeld (BMW Sauber)
8 R Schumacher (Toyota)
Fernando Alonso moved into a huge championship lead after winning the Monaco Grand Prix for the first time.

The Renault driver has a 21-point lead over Michael Schumacher, whose Ferrari finished fifth after starting from the back following a qualifying penalty.

McLaren's Juan Pablo Montoya and Red Bull's David Coulthard were second and third, benefiting from retirements.

McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen fought Alonso hard until his car caught fire with 28 laps to go during a safety car period.

The caution was thrown after Williams driver Webber stopped with engine failure while holding an impressive third.

Both Raikkonen and Webber appeared able to challenge Alonso for the lead until their problems.

"The race was quite emotional from the start," said Alonso, dedicating the win to Michelin tyres chief Edouard Michelin, who died on Friday.

You can't win anything in the races, but you can lose a lot - this time Raikkonen lost a lot

Fernando Alonso

"Kimi (Raikkonen) put some pressure on me, which was quite tough, but it was good in the end.

"At Monaco you really have to keep your concentration and push to the limit all the time. It's a race that I put a cross against on my calendar at the start of the year, so now I have it. It's great for team, the Michelin and me.

"Every race is becoming more and more important for the championship fight. We are building a gap step by step.

"Basically you can't win anything in the races, but you can lose a lot. This time Raikkonen lost a lot."

Raikkonen tracked Alonso closely up to their first pit stops, with the Williams never more than a couple of seconds behind.

Michael Schumacher behind Christian Klien's Red Bull at the Monaco Grand Prix
Schumacher spent the race in unfamiliar company
The Renault driver was able to maintain his lead thanks to stopping two laps later than the McLaren, but Raikkonen wasted no time in getting back on to his rival's tail.

Alonso's lap times dropped off dramatically early in the second stint, allowing Webber and Raikkonen's team-mate Montoya to close right up.

But the world champion speeded up as they hit heavy traffic from backmarkers halfway through the race, and only Raikkonen was able to stay with him.

Webber, though, was still within six seconds of the leaders - and still looking in contention for victory - when his engine failed as he headed into the first corner, Ste Devote, on lap 48.

The Australian pulled over to the side of the track just after the corner with flames licking from the back of the Williams.

Race officials deployed the safety car to give them time to move the Williams from a dangerous place, and all the teams pulled their drivers in for their final pit stops.

Kiki Raikkonen
Raikkonen's race was over at the Loews hairpin on lap 50

Alonso just managed to make it out of the pits in front of Raikkonen, who appeared set for a final charge for victory before smoke began pouring from his McLaren leaving the Loews hairpin on lap 50 while the safety car was still on the track.

McLaren blamed a wiring loom that had been burnt because of heat build-up while Raikkonen was going slowly behind the safety car.

That left Montoya in second from Honda's Rubens Barrichello.

Brazilian Barrichello then lost the final podium position to Jarno Trulli after being given a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pit lane, only for the Italian to retire with five laps to go and promote Coulthard.

The Scot, who took Red Bull's first F1 podium, was not far ahead of Barrichello in the closing laps, but Barrichello had to concentrate on holding off a charge from Schumacher.

The seven-time champion closed in on his former team-mate at more than a second a lap, and was right on the Honda's tail with two laps to go, but the Brazilian was equal to the challenge and held the German off.

Schumacher had spent a frustrating race attempting to pick his way through backmarkers following his penalty for deliberately stopping on the track during qualifying.

He made up ground quickly in the opening laps after choosing to start from the pit lane with a full fuel load, but came to a halt in 16th place on lap three when he came up behind Jenson Button's Honda.

But Button was able to fend off the Ferrari only until lap 20, and Schumacher shot off to join the back of another queue.

The Ferrari had the pace to battle for victory, and combined with his need for only a single stop, that put him sixth after the safety car's intervention, which became fifth when Trulli retired.

Button spent a lonely race never threatening to break into the top 10 and eventually finished 11th.

Monaco Grand Prix result: 1. Fernando Alonso (Spa) Renault one hour 43 minutes 43.116 seconds
2. Juan Pablo Montoya (Col) McLaren-Mercedes +14.567 secs
3. David Coulthard (GB) Red Bull-Ferrari +25.598
4. Rubens Barrichello (Brz) Honda +53.337
5. Michael Schumacher (Ger) Ferrari +53.830
6. Giancarlo Fisichella (Ita) Renault +1:02.072
7. Nick Heidfeld (Ger) BMW Sauber 1 lap behind
8. Ralf Schumacher (Ger) Toyota 1 lap
9. Felipe Massa (Brz) Ferrari 1 lap
10. Vitantonio Liuzzi (Ita) Toro Rosso-Cosworth 1 lap
11. Jenson Button (GB) Honda 1 lap
12. Christijan Albers (Ned) Midland-Toyota 1 lap
13. Scott Speed (US) Toro Rosso-Cosworth 1 lap
14. Jacques Villeneuve (Can) BMW Sauber 1 lap
15. Tiago Monteiro (Por) Midland-Toyota 2 laps
16. Franck Montagny (Fra) Super Aguri-Honda 3 laps
17 (R) Jarno Trulli (Ita) Toyota 5 laps
R Christian Klien (Aut) RedBull-Ferrari 56 laps completed
R Nico Rosberg (Ger) Williams-Cosworth 51 laps completed
R Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) McLaren-Mercedes 50 laps
R Mark Webber (Aus) Williams-Cosworth 48 laps
R Takuma Sato (Jpn) Super Aguri-Honda 46 laps

Key: R = retired Fastest lap: M Schumacher, 1:15.143, lap 74

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