Alonso lengthens F1 lead

By wire services
Published April 3, 2006

MELBOURNE, Australia - Renault's world champion Fernando Alonso won the Australian Grand Prix to extend his lead atop the Formula One standings to 14 points.

Alonso, starting second at Melbourne's Albert Park, passed pole winner Jenson Button on the fourth lap and held off McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen to win by 1.8 seconds. Nine of the 22 cars didn't finish the 57-lap race.

Alonso's victory, his first in Australia and 10th in total, gave him 28 points through three races. He won the season-opening Grand Prix in Bahrain before finishing second in Malaysia.

"The car was perfect, there was not any risk to the victory at any time," Alonso said.

Ralf Schumacher was third, giving Toyota its first points of the season. Nick Heidfeld finished fourth in a BMW-Sauber.

NHRA: Top Fuel driver Brandon Bernstein raced to his ninth career victory, beating points leader Melanie Troxel with a quarter-mile run of 4.534 at 329.83 mph in the O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals in Baytown, Texas.

Funny Car driver Ron Capps extended his points lead with a 5.005-second, 293.47-mph victory over Bob Gilbertson. Mike Edwards won in Pro Stock for the first time in four years, beating Jim Yates with a 6.731 at 206.01 mph.

Angelle Sampey remained perfect on the season with her second win in two Pro Stock Motorcycle races, beating rival Andrew Hines with a 7.144 at 190.11 mph.