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Last Updated: Sunday, 20 March, 2005, 08:36 GMT
Alonso eases to Malaysia victory
GRID POSITIONS
Fernando Alonso celebrates as he crosses the line to win the Malaysian Grand Prix
1 F Alonso (Renault)
2 J Trulli (Toyota)
3 N Heidfeld (Williams)
4 J Montoya (McLaren)
5 R Schumacher (Toyota)
6 D Coulthard (Red Bull)
7 M Schumacher (Ferrari)
8 C Klien (Red Bull)
Renault's Fernando Alonso cruised to victory in the Malaysian Grand Prix to take the world championship lead.

Alonso dominated the race from pole position to win by 24.3 seconds from Jarno Trulli, who scored Toyota's first podium in Formula One.

Williams' Nick Heidfeld was third with Juan Pablo Montoya fourth for McLaren.

David Coulthard was sixth ahead of Michael Schumacher, who started 13th, while Jenson Button retired after three laps with engine failure.

Schumacher made his positions through other people's problems as the Ferraris struggled for pace throughout the race.

He was caught on the last lap by Coulthard's team-mate Christian Klien and McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen, but managed to hold them off.

Ralf Schumacher was the other points finisher for Toyota in fifth.

Giancarlo Fisichella and Mark Webber
Fisichella and Webber crashed out while disputing third place
Raikkonen, who started fourth on the grid, was in the running for third place until he suffered a puncture immediately after his first pit stop.

The Finn nursed his car back to the pits and rejoined in 13th place after a new tyre was fitted.

He lapped impressively quickly as he fought back up through the field.

Williams' Mark Webber and Giancarlo Fisichella of Renault were left disputing third place with Heidfeld close behind. The German took the place when his rivals collided at the final corner on lap 37.

Webber tried to pass Fisichella around the outside of the last corner and they collided. The Australian managed to get alongside, but Fisichella's Renault slid into the Williams in the middle of the corher.

Both cars were too badly damaged to continue and each driver blamed the other. Webber blamed Fisichella, saying he had "left him plenty of room"; Fisichella said there was "no possibility" of overtaking in that situation.

We knew before the start of the race that it would be tough, but my drinks bottle didn't work and I had problems
Fernando Alonso

Race stewards blamed Fisichella, and gave him an official warning.

Fisichella was never a challenge to the top two and Alonso and Trulli raced away into a battle of their own from the start.

Trulli kept Alonso's lead down to 7.7secs by the time of the Renault's first pit stop on lap 21, but five laps later the Spaniard had it out to 12 seconds and he never looked like losing the race.

But although the win looked easy, Alonso said he had struggled to cope with the hot tropical conditions.

"It was very tough conditions and I finished on the limit," Alonso said.

"We knew before the start of the race that it would be tough, but my drinks bottle didn't work and I had problems.

"But I was not pushing very hard during the race and the car was easy to drive.

"The last 15 of 20 laps were very long and the same for everyone here in Sepang, but maybe more when you are in position one. You are very close to winning the race but everything was fine and we showed we are the team to beat."

Trulli was equally impressive, making good on Toyota's pre-race claims that that were genuinely competitive.

"It is fantastic to bring the first podium finish to Toyota," Trulli said.

"We were quite comfortable on reliability even though the conditions are difficult here. The team have done a good job over the winter.

"I had an extremely good start but the Renault seems to get away well. I drove my race, I was competitive, I started managing the race, taking care of the tyres."


Malaysian Grand Prix result:

1 Fernando Alonso (Spa) Renault 1hr 31mins 33.736secs
2 Jarno Trulli (Ita) Toyota 1:31:58.036
3 Nick Heidfeld (Ger) Williams-BMW 1:32:05.836
4 Juan Montoya (Col) McLaren-Mercedes 1:32:15.336
5 Ralf Schumacher (Ger) Toyota 1:32:25.536
6 David Coulthard (GB) Red Bull 1:32:46.236
7 Michael Schumacher (Ger) Ferrari 1:32:53.636
8 Christian Klien (Aut) Red Bull 1:32:54.536
9 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) McLaren-Mercedes 1:32:55.236
10 Felipe Massa (Bra) Sauber-Petronas at 1 lap
11 Narain Karthikeyan (Ind) Jordan-Toyota at 2 laps
12 Tiago Monteiro (Por) Jordan-Toyota at 3 laps
13 Christijan Albers (Ned) Minardi Cosworth at 4 laps

Not classified:
14 Rubens Barrichello (Bra) Ferrari 49 laps completed
15 Giancarlo Fisichella (Ita) Renault 36 laps
16 Mark Webber (Aus) Williams-BMW 36 laps
17 Jacques Villeneuve (Can) Sauber-Petronas 26 laps
18 Jenson Button (GB) BAR-Honda 2 laps
19 Anthony Davidson (Gbr) BAR-Honda 2 laps
20 Patrick Friesacher (Ger) Minardi-Cosworth 2 laps



WATCH AND LISTEN
Report: BBC Five Live's Maurice Hamilton reports



SEE ALSO
Button fires angry salvo at BAR
20 Mar 05 |  Formula One
Team boss warns of F1 'disaster'
20 Mar 05 |  Formula One
Davidson to race in Malaysian GP
19 Mar 05 |  Formula One
Schumi sorry for Heidfeld shunt
19 Mar 05 |  Formula One
Alonso storms to Malaysia GP pole
20 Mar 05 |  Formula One


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