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.

Sport
tennisLive: Follow all the updates from Melbourne as Murray faces Czech Tomas Berdych in the semi-final
Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
Arts and Entertainment
Henry VIII played by Damien Lewis
tvReview: Scheming queens-in-waiting, tangled lines of succession and men of lowly birth rising to power – sound familiar?
News
Joel Grey, now 82, won several awards for his role in Cabaret
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Harry Kane celebrates scoring the opening goal for Spurs
footballLive: All the latest transfer news as deadline day looms
Arts and Entertainment
Master of ceremony: Jeremy Paxman
tvReview: Victory for Jeremy Paxman in this absorbing, revealing tale
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 hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness