Alonso's home fire burns off Schumacher

He said the previous day that 66 laps were not going to be long enough to savour the feeling if he were to win his home grand prix for the first time, but when that dream finally came true for Fernando Alonso yesterday he admitted that he was glad when it was over.

Having rebutted Ferrari's recent challenge with a crushing 18.6sec win over his arch-rival, Michael Schumacher, Alonso said it was the best feeling he had ever had in a Formula One car. "To finish first in front of my supporters... In some ways it was equal to the Grand Prix of Brazil when I finished third and won the world championship last year," he said. "But I didn't enjoy that race so much as I did today's, because it is a better feeling to cross the line and to win. And without worries about the title I was just free to drive and win the race."

For Renault and Michelin it was the perfect response to the recent surge of Ferrari and Bridgestone. Alonso led from pole position - albeit only just beating his team-mate, Giancarlo Fisichella, to the first corner - and crucially the Italian slotted into second place ahead of the Ferraris of Schumacher and Felipe Massa.

Alonso led until his first pit stop on lap 17, which came early enough to prompt suggestions that the world champion might be on a three-stop strategy. He was not. Schumacher inherited the lead when Fisichella stopped on lap 18, and held it until his own stop on lap 23. But when he emerged from the pits ahead of Fisichella, but well behind Alonso, the German knew the game was up. Ferrari's pre-race confidence had proved to be misplaced.

"Giancarlo had pace at certain points that I couldn't even match," Schumacher said. "The weekend started well for us but as it developed it went away from us. We were not quick enough today. If you consider the amount of fuel we carried into the race, the same strategy that paid out for us at the Nürburgring would have worked out here if we had been quick enough, but we weren't and it didn't. I knew it would be very difficult when we hadn't made up enough ground by that first pit stop."

Discarding the option of a three-stop strategy, Alonso and Renault sped home after stopping only once more. The only fly in their balm was Fisichella's failure to go fast enough to keep ahead of Schumacher. He complained that a call from his engineers on lap 26 upset his rhythm and caused him to go off into the gravel, but, compared to Alonso and Schumacher, his was not a convincing performance. Massa, in fourth place, was also some way behind his team-mate but did have the consolation of fastest lap.

As his team partner, Juan Pablo Montoya, spun his McLaren-Mercedes ingloriously into retirement, Kimi Raikkonen was a frustrated fifth and now seems certain to join Ferrari next year. Jenson Button soundly beat his Honda team-mate, Rubens Barrichello, to take a distant sixth place.

With virtually no overtaking, the Spanish Grand Prix was a less than inspiring event unless you hailed from the land of bullfighting, but there was one momentous piece of news. In the morning, the "rebel" manufacturers - BMW, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Renault and Toyota - signed a memorandum of understanding with Bernie Ecclestone's Formula One Administration company that finally eliminates the possibility of their attempting to form a breakaway championship.

Barcelona Grand Prix details

Spanish Grand Prix (Barcelona) 66 laps: 1 F Alonso (Sp) Renault 1hr 26min 21.759sec; 2 M Schumacher (Ger) Ferrari +00:18.502; 3 G Fisichella (It) Renault 00:23.951; 4 F Massa (Bra) Ferrari 00:29.859; 5 K Raikkonen (Fin) McLaren-Mercedes 00:56.875; 6 J Button (GB) Honda 00:58.347; 7 R Barrichello (Bra) Honda 1 lap; 8 N Heidfeld (Ger) Sauber-BMW 1 lap; 9 M Webber (Aus) Williams-Cosworth 1 lap; 10 J Trulli (It) Toyota 1 lap; 11 N Rosberg (Ger) Williams-Cosworth 1 lap; 12 J Villeneuve (Can) Sauber-BMW 1 lap; 13 C Klien (Aut) Red Bull Racing 1 lap; 14 D Coulthard (GB) Red Bull Racing 1 lap; 15 V Liuzzi (It) T Rosso-Cosworth 3 laps; 16 T Monteiro (Por) MF1-Toyota 3 laps; 17 T Sato (Japan) Super Aguri-Honda 4 laps. Retired: C Albers (Neth) MF1-Toyota 18 laps; S Speed (US) Toro Rosso-Cosworth 19 laps; R Schumacher (Ger) Toyota 35 laps; J P Montoya (Col) McLaren-Mercedes 49 laps; F Montagny (Fr) Super Aguri-Honda 56 laps.Fastest lap: Massa, 1:16.648, average speed 217.320kmh, lap 42.

Championship standings: Drivers: 1 Alonso 54pts; 2 M Schumacher 39; 3 Raikkonen 27; 4 Fisichella 24; 5 Massa 20; 6 Button 16; 7 Montoya 15; 8 Barrichello 8; 9 R Schumacher 7; 10= Heidfeld 6; 10= Webber 6; 10= Villeneuve 6; 13 Rosberg 4; 14= Coulthard 1; 14= Klien 1; 16= Trulli 0; 16= Speed 0; 16= Liuzzi 0; 16= Albers 0; 16= Monteiro 0;16= Sato 0; 16= Ide 0. Manufacturers: 1 Renault 78pts; 2 Ferrari 59; 3 McLaren-Mercedes 42; 4 Honda 24; 5 Sauber-BMW 12; 6 Williams-Cosworth 10; 7 Toyota 7; 8 Red Bull Racing 2; 9= Toro Rosso-Cosworth 0;9= MF1-Toyota 0;9= Super Aguri-Honda 0.

Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Sport
The giant banner displayed by Legia Warsaw supporters last night
football Polish side was ejected from Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
news It's not just the world that's a mess at the moment...
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
peopleAsked whether he was upset not to be invited, he responded by saying he was busy with the Emmy Awards
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
peopleBill Kerr appeared in Hancock’s Half Hour and later worked alongside Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
news
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
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

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone