Alonso takes title to fulfil his destiny

In the end, courtesy of Montoya and Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren got their long-awaited one-two result, but the real story was all about Alonso.

After drawing his blue and yellow car into parc fermé at the end of the 71-lap event, he clambered from the cockpit and waved his arms aloft with the pure elation of a man who has realised his destiny. Then, careless that the world might be waiting to hear his story, he ran to his delirious team and embraced them warmly. It was almost the most animated moment of an otherwise unremarkable race. In response, Renault teamsters held aloft a pit board on which they had mounted the words that said it all: "Bravo Fernando Alonso, 2005 World Champion."

On the podium he poured the victory champagne into his trophy from a great height, celebrating in the way that Spaniards do when they pour their cider in the Oviedo region.

As if to wash away the final embers of Michael Schumacher's tenancy of the title, there was a brief rain shower that had abated by the time that Alonso sat in front of a microphone.

In triumph he was gracious, calm and collected, tough clearly imbued with the inner strength and sense of achievement that truly great sportsmen savour.

"I am extremely happy and it is a very emotional day for me," Alonso said. "I come from a country that has no tradition in Formula One and I had to fight alone as I had no help from anybody through my career. I think this is the maximum I can achieve and it is thanks to three or four people. No more than that."

There is about the Spaniard, 24 years and two months old, the same quiet charisma of the great Brazilian that he supersedes as the youngest champion, Emerson Fittipaldi, who was 25 years and 10 months old when he took Jackie Stewart's crown in 1972.

Like Fittipaldi, he is a trailblazer for his nation, and few doubt that he will bring a welcome dignity to his time as champion. Though Raikkonen would also have made a deserving winner, Alonso is the right man at the right time.

As McLaren finally scored their first one-two for more than five years, there was one bittersweet moment for Renault. With a tally of 18 points for their afternoon's work, McLaren moved to 164 points in the constructors' world championship, for the first time this season surpassing Renault as the leader. But the French team are still in the hunt with 162 and this is the battle that will now be the primary focus of the two remaining races.

Once Montoya had taken the lead on the third lap, he surrendered it only during pit stops, each time to Raikkonen. As long as Alonso was third, Raikkonen's mathematical chance of winning the crown had evaporated, and it was soon clear that if that was the case there was no need for Montoya to hand over the initiative, as he had in Belgium two weeks ago.

When Raikkonen made his final stop on the 59th lap, Montoya, who had refuelled five laps earlier, just came through the first corner and regained the lead as Raikkonen was emerging from the pits. For a while they went at it, but with eight laps to go it was clear that both men had reduced their pace.

Montoya duly won the race for the second successive year, and in doing so drew level with Michael Schumacher, who finished fourth, in third place in the drivers' stakes. Alonso merely had to follow them home.

In their wake, Ferrari preserved their third place in the constructors' table thanks to Schumacher's fourth and Rubens Barrichello's sixth, while Alonso's team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella had a disappointing run to fifth. It was also a disappointing race for Jenson Button, who started fourth but could only manage seventh place in his BAR-Honda.

Alonso's success aside, the only other major talking point was a startline shunt that brought out the safety car for two laps after David Coulthard tried to squeeze his Red Bull between the Williams-BMW cars of Mark Webber and Antonio Pizzonia.

The Scot and the Brazilian (in another probationary race for his team) were eliminated on the spot; Webber rejoined the race 25 laps down after a long stop for repairs.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Britons buy more than 30 million handsets each year, keeping them for an average of 18 months
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Alloysious Massaquoi, 'G' Hastings and Kayus Bankole of Young Fathers are the surprise winners of this year's Mercury Music Prize
musicThe surprise winners of the Mercury Prize – and a very brief acceptance speech
Arts and Entertainment
TV Presenters Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly. Winners of the 'Entertainment Programme' award for 'Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway'
musicAnt and Dec confirmed as hosts of next year's Brit Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Orson Welles made Citizen Kane at 25, and battled with Hollywood film studios thereafter
film
News
video
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain