Alonso Takes Chequered Flag On Home Turf




Alonso would have been the most popular name in Spain over the weekend!

Fernando Alonso takes chequered flag on home turf

Fernando Alonso takes chequered flag on home turf

After Xabi Alonso’s brace helped the Spanish football team storm into the semifinals of the European Championships, Fernando Alonso drove a fantastic race to take home the podium in front of his home crowd in the European Grand Prix at Valencia, Spain.

Alonso’s victory also meant that he became the first driver to win two races this season after the opening seven races gave seven different winners – the first time ever in F1 history. There was also something to rejoice for comeback men Kimi Raikkonen and Michael Schumacher as they took the remaining two places on the podium. There was heartbreak though for former champions Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton as the duo failed to complete the race, the latter crashing into Pastor Maldonado on the penultimate lap.

The first half of the race though belonged to Vettel, and Vettel alone! The German, starting from pole position, opened up a huge lead at the top of the grid. Lewis Hamilton, in second place, managed to keep Romain Grosjean behind his McLaren but the Renault powered Lotus found its way past Hamilton on Lap 10 but Vettel was too far ahead to even pose a threat.

The real action though began only when Jean-Eric Vergne’s Toro Rosso collided with Heikki Kovalinen on the 27th lap and prompted the deployment of the safety car. The safety car stayed on the track until Lap 34 and when racing began again, Vettel raced away to the lead for the second time on the day.

But he had not finished a single lap when his car refused to move any further due to a technical problem. Alonso, who started the race in 11th position, slowly worked his way up the grid and by the time the safety car was deployed, he was already in 3rd position. His Ferrari was too powerful for the Lotus of Grosjean and thus inherited the lead after Vettel’s retirement.

But the Frenchman didn’t give up so easily! He kept the distance between him and Alonso less than a second away until another technical failure saw his car limp to the side of the track. Hamilton, who was delayed in the pit-stop, took over the second position and was now having to fend off the Williams of Pastor Maldonado. After running side to side for three corners the cars collided, pushing Hamilton against the wall thus dashing the Brits’ hopes of a podium finish.

Alonso steered home his Ferrari in front of a grand stand that were all cheering for him and the accident to Hamilton meant that the stage was now all set for Kimi Raikkonen and Michael Schumacher to take the remaining podium spots. Schumacher finished just a second ahead of Mark Webber, who started the race in 19th spot. Schumacher and Webber, who had gone into the pits on lap 38 and 44 respectively raced past Rosberg, Button, Perez, Di Resta and Hulkenberg before the retirements and technical errors put them in third and fourth spot.

There was something to rejoice for the Indian fans as Force India took home 16 points with Hulkenberg and Di Resta sandwiching Rosberg who finished sixth. Jenson Button had yet another disappointing race finishing eighth, three seconds ahead of the Sauber of Perez. Behind them came Maldonado, who limped home without his front wing but the stewards added 20 seconds to his time for crashing into Hamilton and that implied his teammate Bruno Senna took the last scoring spot.

Felipe Massa was in a position to score some vital points for Ferrari before his car was attacked by the Sauber of Kobayashi and could finish only 15th ahead of the HRTs of De La Rosa and Karthikeyan.

Ferrari moved on to 122 points but stayed behind the trio of Red Bull, McLaren and Lotus who have 176, 137 and 126 points respectively. Alonso’s victory combined with Hamilton’s no-show also opened up a big lead at the top of the Drivers’ standings. Alonso now has 111 points, 20 more than Red Bull’s Webber, who is closely followed by Hamilton and Webber who are on 88 and 85 points respectively.

Alonso celebrated his victory by picking up a Spanish flag and waved it across to his fans and supporters and with the football team already in the semifinals of the Euro Cup and Rafael Nadal looking to replicate his French Open success on the grass courts of Wimbledon, the Spanish Armada seems to be having a lot to rejoice on!

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Monish Menon

Author:

Hi, I am Monish Menon from Hyderabad and currently working at Franklin Templeton Investments as a Compliance Business Analyst. Sport has always been my passion since I was a kid and I invest all my non-existent free time by watching, playing, writing and analyzing various sporting events across the world. Apart from being a diehard Manchester United fan and a Ferrari supporter, I believe that Roger Federer is still the best tennis player and Sachin Tendulkar is God. I play club cricket and I also am a part of my organization’s cricket and football squad. Being such a sports fanatic, writing about it is something that came naturally to me and I am glad that I got an opportunity through thesportsmirror.com to share my thoughts with the rest of the world. For other articles written by me, you can visit my blog at www.monishmenon.wordpress.com

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