• Australian Grand Prix 2006

Alonso cruises to victory as Coulthard makes history

David Addison
April 2, 2006
Fernando Alonso cruises to victory in Australia © Sutton Images

"Today it was quite comfortable. I had no fights and I was very relaxed for the whole race." That was how Fernando Alonso summed up his Australian Grand Prix which gave him a second win of the year and Renault's third.

Jenson Button had taken pole position for Honda, finally becoming a serious front-running squad, but Button struggled for grip, particularly when the tyres cooled behind the safety car, and then he suffered a fiery engine failure in the last few yards of the race which cost him fifth place. He smouldered over the line 10th.

Safety car one came after a first-corner smash eliminated Felipe Mass (Ferrari) and Nico Rosberg (Williams) and Alonso tucked in behind Button. When the race resumed, the grip-free Button was jumped by Alonso before the safety car appeared again to clear the remains of Christian Klien's broken Red Bull from the road. Kimi Raikkonen's McLaren moved ahead of Button on the second restart but an inspired tyre choice by Ralf Schumacher (using a softer Bridgestone tyre) allowed him to move his Toyota up to third.

Michael Schumacher's dismal season continued when he crashed out on lap 33 and with Massa out on lap one, it was a day to forget for Ferrari. For the record, Alonso celebrated his 10th GP win and David Coulthard's eighth place gave the Scot his 500th point - making him the the first British driver to reach the milestone.