APRIL 24, 2005
Race incidents from Imola
* Lap 1: At the start Kimi Raikkonen went into the lead with Fernando Alonso behind him and Jenson Button holding third. Jarno Trulli made a good start and managed to get ahead of Mark Webber as did Takuma Sato but at Piratella, Webber went around the outside of Sato and took back fifth place. Down at the back of the field Felipe Massa failed to get off the line and went to the back of the field. By the end of the lap Raikkonen had an advantage of two seconds, suggesting that the McLaren was running with a very light fuel load or a short first stint. Behind him Alonso was keeping ahead of Button and then came Trulli, Webber, Sato, Alexander Wurz, Jacques Villeneuve, Rubens Barrichello and Nick Heidfeld. At the tail of the field Massa overtakes both Minardis.
* Lap 2: Raikkonen's lead grows to 2.6secs while Button follows a couple of seconds in arrears. Trulli is dropping away fast and holding up the cars behind him. Down at the back of the field Massa overtakes Tiagio Monteiro to take 17th place.
* Lap 4: Raikkonen's lead is up to 3.0secs and the order is unchanged except that Massa overtakes Narain Karthikeyan for 16th place.
* Lap 6: Giancarlo Fisichella goes off at the Tamburello chicane and retires from 11th place.
* Lap 8: Raikkonen's lead is 3.4secs while Button has dropped back 7.8secs from Alonso. At the tail of the field Patrick Friesacher goes into the pits and retires his new Minardi.
* Lap 9: Raikkonen suddenly slows and is left behind by the new leaders. The McLaren driver goes into the pits to retire with a mechanical problem.
* Lap 10: Alonso is 8.4secs ahead of Button who is 8.4secs ahead of Trulli who is under considerable pressure from Webber. Also in the queue is Sato and then there is a gap back to Wurz and Villeneuve, who is fighting hard with Barrichello. Michael Schumacher is stuck behind his brother in 11th place.
* Lap 16: The gap at the front is much the same but Trulli is unable to keep up and is under increasing pressure from Webber and Sato. Down at the back Massa runs into the back of David Coulthard and loses his front wing. He pits for a new nose.
* Lap 17: Barrichello goes into the pits with a problem. He re-emerges but retires after one more exploratory lap.
* Lap 20: Button is getting faster and faster and has closed the gap to 8.5secs. Down at the back Monteiro pits and Christijan Albers goes into the pits to retire.
* Lap 21: The first major pit stops begin with Nick Heidfeld, Ralf Schumacher and Karthikeyan all stopping. This enables Michael Schumacher to speed up.
* Lap 22: As Button closes up more the action is in the midfield where Webber is outfoxed by Sato on the run down towards the first chicane. In the sort out that follows Wurz is also able to get ahead. At the end of the lap Trulli and Webber go to the pits. Trulli gets out just ahead.
* Lap 23: Alonso, Sato and Villeneuve all pit. This puts Button into the lead. Alonso rejoins in second ahead of Wurz and Michael Schumacher, who is now lapping very quickly.
* Lap 24: Button pits and rejoins second behind Alonso.
* Lap 25: Wurz pits and so Michael Schumacher moves to third with another fastest lap. Further back Coulthard pits from 10th. Down at the back Massa overtakes Karthikeyan for 13th place.
* Lap 27: Alonso's lead is nine seconds ahead of Button but Schumacher has closed to within three seconds of the BAR. Futher back F1 debutant Vitantonio Liuzzi pits and falls from ninth place to 11th.
* Lap 28: The order is now established with Alonso around 10 secs ahead of Button and then a big gap of 20secs back to Schumacher. Behind them Wurz was fourth with Sato behind him and then a gap back to Trulli with Webber stuck behind him again. The queue behind includes Villeneuve, Heidfeld and Ralf Schumacher. There is then a big gap back to the two Red Bulls, with Liuzzi leading Coulthard.
* Lap 30: Webber goes slightly wide at the Variante Alta and Jacques Villeneuve gets ahead to run in seventh place.
* Lap 36: Massa passes Coulthard for 12th place.
* Lap 40: Michael Schumacher has closed right up on Button, cutting the gap from 10secs to less than three. Monteiro pits for a second time but remains at the back of the field.
* Lap 41: Massa stops for the second time.
* Lap 42: Alonso heads for the pits and so Button and Schumacher go ahead, the two men separated by less than a second. It is clear that the Ferrari is faster but the question is one of strategy. Who will pit first? Further back Webber pits and drops from eighth place to 11th. Further back Karthikeyan stops again.
* Lap 44: The battle continues at the front. In the midfield Heidfeld and Ralf Schumacher both pit but both get out ahead of Webber.
* Lap 45: Trulli stops and thos etrapped behind him are able to speed up.
* Lap 46: Sato, Villeneuve and Coulthard all pit. Villeneuve gets out ahead of Trulli
* Lap 47: Button and Schumacher come up behind the two Williams drivers, who are duelling for ninth place. Button loses a little grip on dust that is on the track and Schumacher boxes him on the run up to the Variante Alta and slips into the lead. Wurz and Liuzzi both stop. The McLaren driver stays in fourth place, while Liuzzi drops from sixth to 11th.
* Lap 48: Schumacher sets the fastest lap of the race as Button heads for the pits.
* Lap 49: Schumacher pits but by the time he rejoins Alonso is back in the lead. Further back Monteiro has another stop.
* Lap 50: The game is on. Michael Schumacher closes quickly on Alonso and, with 12 laps to run is right on Alonso's tail. In the laps that follow the two cars are locked together. Alonso defending coolly at the same time trying to slow the pace enough to avoid catching the cars ahead of him as there is a battle going on between Webber and Liuzzi for 10th place. On several occasions Schumacher looks to have a chance to get ahead but Alonso stays in front. There is much excitement around the Autodromo Ferrari.
* Lap 62: Alonso crosses the finish line just 0.215secs ahead of Schumacher to win an impressive victory. Schumacher is disappointed but it is clear that the Ferrari team is back on the pace again. Button is third, underlining the progress made by the BAR-Honda team, while Wurz comes home fourth, a good effort after years as a test driver. Fifth place goes to Takuma Sato and then there is a big gap back to Villeneuve who scores his first points of the year. Trulli crosses the line in seventh just ahead of Ralf Schumacher and Nick Heidfeld while Webber clearly has a problem but manages to finish just ahead of Liuzzi. The other finishers are Massa, Coulthard, Karthikeyan and Monteiro.
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