Raikkonen Reigns In Monaco
May 22, 2005 | 10:46 A.M. EST
Raikkonen led for the whole race, entering his one pit-stop, a little over half way through the race, with a 34.7-second lead and leaving it with a 13-second lead.
"Our World Championship battle has gained momentum today," Raikkonen said. "We have worked hard, and I think we have the best package out there at the moment."
The race marks the Finn's fourth F1 victory in Mercedes-Benz's 200th Grand Prix. The win was McLaren's 13th in Monaco, the most of any other team.
Points leader Fernando Alonso, who started second in the race, lost his podium finish in the final ten laps of the race to William's Nick Heidfeld and Mark Webber. With his fourth place finish, he managed to hold on to the lead in the points for another week.
"It was a really tough race for me. I tried to look after the tires at the start of the race, so I didn't worry too much about the fact that Raikkonen was pulling away, but in the last twenty laps, things became really difficult: I did all I could to keep the Williams behind me, but I couldn't hold them off because the rear tires were in poor condition and they could brake much later into the Chicane," Alonso said.
He chose a harder compound tire for the race, which experienced strong rear tire wear from mid-race onwards.
Both Heidfeld, who finished in second, and Webber, who finished in third, scored their best career Formula One finishes.
"A lot of cars seemed to have problems with their tires today but we didn't and towards the end I pushed as hard as I could," Heidfeld said. "When I caught up to Alonso I knew he was struggling with his tires so I decided to wait for a couple of laps to weigh up the best possibility to overtake him. Fernando defended well but I was just able to out-brake him, which was such a good feeling."
Juan Pablo Montoya, who started in the rear of the field as a result of a penalty, pushed his way to the front to finish fifth. Toyota's Ralf Schumacher, who started one position ahead of Montoya, finished one position behind, narrowly holding off his brother, Ferrari's Michael Schumacher by one-tenth of a second.
The elder Schumacher made a final push in the last lap to pass his teammate Rubens Barichello and contest Ralf for sixth place. The defending champion has yet to win a race this season and has only finished on the podium once.