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Kimi's loss is Alonso's gain

NEWS STORY
29/05/2005

With just over half-an-hour to go before today's race gets underway, it appears that - not for the first time - the weather forecasters have got it wrong. Although it is not as hot as yesterday, when temperatures hit 34 degrees C - there is not a cloud in the sky, certainly no rain clouds.

The big question today, is who is running on what fuel load?

It is almost certain that pole-man Heidfeld was running light, which even though it may have already cost him the race, certainly gives BMW something to crow about, especially as - in qualifying at least - the German manufacturer has got one over on its German rival, Mercedes.

Kimi Raikkonen is thought to be running a little heavier, as is Heidfeld's teammate, Mark Webber. Indeed looking through the grid it appears that several teams are running both drivers on different strategies, Ferrari being a prime example.

Other than fuel strategy - which will become apparent soon enough - there is the question of tyre wear and indeed who will get through the first couple of corners without incident, over the years we've seen a number of comings together.

The Michelin teams are confident, and rightly so, seeing as the French manufacturer has won the last seven races. However, there is a (worrying) air of optimism at Bridgestone, with Michael Schumacher ever the dark horse.

As the cars prepare for the warm-up lap, the air temperature is 24 degrees C, while the track temperature is 45 degrees.

At the cars prepare to leave the grid for the warm up lap, Jarno Trulli appears to have a problem and his mechanics descend on the car. They leave the grid but did they clear it in time, let's not forget that we've seen drivers penalized for this before. Time will tell. If the Italian is punished it would be harsh, especially after his superb qualifying lap, but rules are rules.

As start sequence begins, yellow flags are waved, Giancarlo Fisichella has a problem. The field heads off on another warm-up lap as the Renault crew try to push the hapless Italian's car to the pitlane. Unfortunately the car has stalled and it won't move - finally, they retrieve the blue and yellow car.

The grid re-forms, with Massa enjoying the benefit of a clear space ahead of him.

They're away, but they're mayhem at the first corner with Ralf Schumacher and Mark Webber both out, after just a few yards.

In the pits they await the 'wounded', as Raikkonen heads off into the distance, enjoying a 1.9s lead over Heidfeld. In fact, Sato is the only driver to pit.

It's Raikkonen, Heidfeld, Trulli, Coulthard, Alonso, Massa, Liuzzi, Button, Barrichello and Monteiro!!!

Ralf has also made it back to the pits for a new nose, which means that Webber is the only driver to retire following that incident.

Looking at the replay, it appears - stress appears - that Montoya turned in on Webber. Though the Australian was mighty late on the brakes.

As the stewards announce that Trulli is under investigation, Heidfeld posts a new fastest lap (1:31.523) as Alonso mounts a challenge on Coulthard, both Red Bulls having made up a whole load of positions as a result of the first corner incident.

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