Alonso delights Spanish GP fans

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso thrills home crowds at the Circuit de Catalunya with his second win of the F1 season.

    Alonso delights Spanish GP fans
    Alonso, who is chasing his third drivers’ title, finished 9.338 seconds ahead of second-placed Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen [AFP]

    Ferrari's Fernando Alonso rewrote the Formula One form book and turned up the heat in the championship battle by winning his home Spanish Grand Prix for the second time on Sunday.

    The double world champion's second victory of the season, and 32nd of his career, made him the first driver in 23 years of racing at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya to win from outside the top three grid positions.

    The Spaniard, who started in fifth place with the Mercedes duo of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton locking out the front row, seized third place through the third corner and had the crowd roaring him on as he led after 13 of the 66 laps.

    Alonso, who won in Barcelona with Renault in 2006 and also in Valencia last year at the European Grand Prix, took the chequered flag 9.3 seconds ahead of 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen in a Lotus.

    The Finn, in the points for a 22nd successive race and now just two short of Michael Schumacher's all-time record, denied Ferrari a one-two finish with Brazilian Felipe Massa taking a distant third.

    Vettel fourth

    Red Bull's triple world champion Sebastian Vettel was fourth, 38.2 seconds behind Alonso, and saw his overall lead over Raikkonen cut to four points. After five of the 19 races, the German has 89 points to Raikkonen's 85 and Alonso's 72.

    Hamilton slipped to fourth overall with 50 points after spending the afternoon falling through the field as Mercedes -as expected - again failed to live up to their electrifying qualifying pace.

    The 2008 world champion ended up out of the points in 12th and was even heard exclaiming that he had been overtaken by a Williams - driven by last year's winner Pastor Maldonado - as a measure of how much he was struggling.

    Former champions Williams have failed to score a point in five races with a car lacking aerodynamic performance and Venezuelan Maldonado, who finished 14th after a drive-through penalty, had started way back in 17th place.

    In a race dictated by the quick-wearing tyres, Alonso pitted four times - the same as Vettel and Massa - while Raikkonen made only three trips to the pit lane.

    Rosberg, who had also been on pole at the previous race in Bahrain where he finished ninth, led for the first 10 laps before facing up to the inevitable.

    The German, sixth at the finish behind Red Bull's Mark Webber, was not to lead again as Mexican rookie Esteban Gutierrez took over at the front for two laps in a Sauber amid the pit stops before Alonso asserted himself.

    Britain's Paul Di Resta was seventh for Force India with McLaren's Jenson Button eighth after starting 14th. Mexican team mate Sergio Perez was ninth and Australian Daniel Ricciardo 10th for Toro Rosso.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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