• Monaco Grand Prix 2006

Alonso cruises to perfect victory in Monte Carlo

David Addison
May 28, 2006
Juan Pablo Montoya, Fernando Alonso and David Coulthard on the steps of the Royal Box © Sutton Images

Fernando Alonso's win in the Monaco Grand Prix was flawless. He did not make a single slip over 78 laps in the principality, but perhaps his task was eased by main rival Michael Schumacher being sent to the back of the grid.

Schumacher was found guilty of deliberately stopping his car on the track, causing the session to be stopped and preventing Alonso from completing a lap that could - and should - have netted pole. Schumacher, having set a fastest first sector time, braked going into the Rascasse with such force that his car locked up, slid wide and stalled. A car on the track at Monaco means a red flag. Session stopped, pole secure. Or not. The stewards met and removed his times meaning that he started last on the grid.

With Schumacher out of the way, Alonso pulled clear once racing began and led from Kimi Raikkonen's McLaren and Mark Webber of Williams. It looked closer than it was as the three circulated together. In truth, Alonso was driving within himself to conserve rubber knowing that Raikkonen had little chance to pass on the narrow streets.

Webber retired on lap 47 when an exhaust failure caused hot gas to burn through the wiring loom and Raikkonen suffered a similar fate when he pitted after a safety car period. A heat shield in the engine bay caught fire, burnt through the wiring loom and put him out of the race. That allowed Juan Pablo Montoya to move up to second and David Coulthard to third for Red Bull, the team's first podium finish.

And Schumacher? Starting from the pit lane, to avoid any first corner silliness, the team swapped him to a one-stop strategy that allowed him to leapfrog much of the field to finish fifth.