Monaco race notes - McLaren


West McLaren Mercedes driver Kimi Raikkonen won the 2005 Monaco Grand Prix in dominant form never once losing the lead in the 78-lap race after starting from pole position. Today's race was also the 200th Grand Prix for Mercedes-Benz. It's the Finn's fourth Formula One victory and his first in Monaco. This is the 13th victory for McLaren in the Principality which is more than any other team. The most recent win for the West McLaren Mercedes team was in 2002 (David Coulthard). Juan Pablo Montoya finished the race in fifth place having started from 16th position on the grid. Both drivers were on one-stop-strategies which saw Kimi coming in on lap 42 (10.5 seconds) whilst Juan Pablo did his refuelling stop on lap 46 (9.5 seconds). Kimi has moved to second in the Drivers' World Championship with 27 points whilst Juan Pablo is eighth with 14 points. West McLaren Mercedes moved to second in the Constructors' Championship with 51 points.

Kimi Raikkonen: This is great. To win is always fantastic, but Monaco is a special challenge. We have been strong throughout the weekend and I was able to pretty much control the race. I was able to push and open up a considerable gap, and when the time was right I simply came into the pits, refuel and still rejoin the race in the lead. After that I could take it a bit easier and look after the car and the Michelin tyres. Once again thank you to the entire team and everybody at Michelin. We have worked hard, and I think we have the best package out there at the moment. Our World Championship battle has gained momentum today. We will take one race at a time and continue to do our best.

Juan Pablo Montoya: I think we made the best out of our situation and scored some important points for the team and me. I was so close to getting past Fernando Alonso on the last couple of laps but had to settle for fifth position as I did not want to risk too much. My car was working very well, and without a starting position on the back of the grid a place on the podium would have been possible. I gained a lot of places at the start and had a few battles in the race with Massa, Rubens and Trulli which kept me pretty busy. Congratulations to Kimi on his victory. I have won this race once and know how special it is to claim victory in Monaco.

Ron Dennis: A tremendous result for the team. Kimi drove an absolute faultless race coping well with the need to pace himself to not only conserving the car but of course also the tyres. The safety car deployment caused minor confusion with our strategists working to double-check the data before making the final call on whether to bring Kimi into the pits or not. Clearly they were right and the outcome obvious. Juan Pablo had an impressive drive through the field which coupled with our strategy gave him a well deserved fifth place. A special mention to our Partner Michelin who clearly gave us the best tyres today.

Norbert Haug: A race with thrills and excitement. A fantastic performance by Kimi and Juan Pablo and an excellent job by the entire team. Our strategy was ideal and Kimi extended his lead to over half of a minute and was able to look after the car and the Michelin tyres. With his fifth place overall; Juan Pablo made the best out of his 16th starting position on the grid. We now look forward to next weekend's race at the Nürburgring which is the first of two Mercedes-Benz home Grands Prix.

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Published: 22/05/2005
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