4. 2005 San Marino Grand Prix
If the race in 2003 in Hungary displayed Alonso’s skills to control the race while in the lead, the race in Italy actually demonstrated his excellent defensive skills.
Alonso started the race behind the pole setter, Kimi Raikkonen, who retired after 9 laps due to driveshaft failure. Till lap 50, Alonso was comfortably in the lead, until Michael Schumacher emerged from the pits just seconds behind him. The following 13 laps ensured a nail biting finish. The tail of Alonso’s Renault often stayed with the head of Schumacher’s Ferrari. This race brought back memories of the 1971 Italian Grand Prix where the top drivers were separated by 0.01 seconds.
What followed was a show of ultimate defensive techniques by Alonso, often covering the inside corner of the turns and chicanes and slowing Schumacher on the corners. Schumacher tried even unorthodox methods to take the lead but in vain. This well grit determined defense by Alonso ensured a thrilling and a pulsating end to the race. Two tenths of a second is all that separated the two drivers. For Schumacher, it was a heart break as he was denied one of his greatest recoveries from 13th on the grid. Meanwhile, victory in Italy helped Alonso’s chances in the World Championship, which he went on to win. Holding off a charging 7-time world champion definitely qualifies as one of Fernando Alonso’s top 5 races.