Lucky Day For Alonso
May 29, 2005 | 9:50 A.M. EST
The McLaren lost its right front suspension, which sent Raikkonen off the track and into the wall.
"We were pushing McLaren and Kimi so hard to the point they had the failure in the tires," Alonso said.
In the incident-filled race, the Spaniard almost saw his race end early when he was half-spun following contact from Toyota's Ralf Schumacher in the opening corner.
Later, he was almost counted out for a podium finish when he ran off the track just before his final pit-stop, in a race that saw most of the drivers make a run in the grass and gravel lining the track. He pushed hard to come back into second behind Raikkonen, who led for most of the race.
The points leader was over four seconds behind Raikkonen with several laps to go, but his final push, that saw his fastest lap of the race, brought him within view of the McLaren.
The McLaren's suspension failure came as a result of running on a bad right-front tire. The team decided to press its luck and remain on the track, rather than pitting to change the tire in the final stretch. The vibration loosened the suspension enough to cause the damage.
Hometown driver, William's Nick Heidfeld, who started on the pole for the first time in his career, finished second. Ferrari scored a podium finish too in the McLaren upset, with Rubens Barrichello taking third in his second podium finish of the season.
Red Bull's David Coulthard took advantage of the first lap incident that took out William's Mark Webber and saw the contact between Alonso and Schumacher, to improve upon his 13th-place start with a fourth-place finish.
Ferrari's Michael Schumacher rounded out the top-five in his hometown race, where he was the defending winner.