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Alonso Wins Kimi Scond as Formula One Gets Back On Track in Magny-Cours

Formula One got back on the right track at the French Grand Prix this afternoon after the exceptional circumstances that plagued the United States Grand Prix just two weeks ago. Fernando Alonso took his fifth, and Renault's sixth, win in front of the constructor's home crowd at the Magny Cours circuit. Behind him was the McLaren of Kimi Raikkonen who finished one place ahead of Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher. Schumacher's team mate, Rubens Barrichello finished just short of the points in ninth place.

'All in all I think we can be pleased with today,' said Lisa Lilley of Shell Global Solutions. 'We brought a new grease to this race, Shell Stamina SLO912, which performed faultlessly throughout the weekend. We are delighted with its performance'.

Renault grabbed their third pole of the season in Saturday's qualifying, with championship leader Fernando Alonso heading up the grid for today's race. The Spaniard shared the front row with the Toyota of Jarno Trulli. While the reigning World Champion, Michael Schumacher, started third along side Takuma Sato, who drove a stunning lap to out-gun BAR-Honda team-mate Jenson Button by nearly half a second. The second Ferrari of Rubens Barrichello started the race from fifth position.

Come lights out, Alonso capitalised on his pole position to lead the field in to the first corner without incident. Barrichello got off the line well to leap-frog Sato for P4, whilst farther back Raikkonen, having started from 13th after being demoted 10 places for an engine failure on Friday, took Webber for P12.

From there, the front runners had to be content with their positions as they held station until the first round of pit-stops. At the front however, Alonso was treating the Renault home crowd to a display of dominance - he was 19 seconds ahead of second place man Trulli by lap 14. By lap 17, the first pit-stops had started, with Barrichello amongst the first to visit the garage for more Shell V-Power fuel. Michael Schumacher followed suit, pitting on lap 19, and with some clever work from the Ferrari pit-crew, the German exited his stop ahead of Trulli to take P2.

Lap 22 saw Barrichello make a move on Sato heading into the hair-pin for P6. The Japanese driver was not to be conquered however, as the Ferrari driver ran wide allowing the BAR-Honda back through. The move would soon prove fruitless though as one lap later, Sato, attempting an overtaking move on Trulli, took a visit to the gravel trap and was demoted to P9.

Behind race leader Alonso, both McLarens running two-stop strategies, managed to leap-frog the field with fast in-laps promoting Raikkonen to second and Montoya to third.

It soon became apparent that a change in fortunes was to come, with 25 laps to go Montoya began to lose time and was overtaken by the Scuderia Ferrari driver and World Champion for P3. Things soon went from bad to worse for the Columbian as he parked his car on the grass to retire from the race.

With just 12 laps to go, Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher was being hurried by the Renault of Fisichella. Yet to make his final stop, Fisichella was soon forced to pit. An eventful stop was to follow with the Australian Grand Prix winner stalling his engine, shuffling Button up the pack to fourth, providing five valuable points for the Englishman.

Alonso took the win, Raikkonen behind him. Michael Schumacher was third, ahead of Button and Trulli. Fisichella and Ralf Schumacher were next in line with Jacques Villeneuve taking good points for Sauber in eighth.

Another six points to the Scuderia's tally brings the Italian marque to within just two points of McLaren in the Constructors' table. Meanwhile, Alonso remains at the sharp end of the Drivers' Championship.

Formula One heads to Silverstone next weekend. Before that, the Shell team are looking forward to seeing both Scuderia Ferrari drivers when they visit this week's Shell Eco-Marathon UK.