Skip to main content

Alonso doubles up in Spain to reclaim world championship lead

June 25, 2012 -- Updated 1351 GMT (2151 HKT)
Fernando Alonso celebrates his famous victory in the European Grand Prix in Valencia in front of his Spanish fans.
Fernando Alonso celebrates his famous victory in the European Grand Prix in Valencia in front of his Spanish fans.
  • Fernando Alonso wins European Grand Prix in Valencia
  • Spaniard is first two-time winner of 2012 F1 season
  • Sebastian Vettel retires while leading in his Red Bull
  • Michael Schumacher on the podium for first time since his comeback

(CNN) -- Ferrari's Fernando Alonso became the first two-time winner of the unpredictable 2012 Formula One season as he triumphed in front of his home fans in Valencia to claim the European Grand Prix Sunday.

Alonso's win took him back to the top of the world championship standings with former leader Lewis Hamilton and defending two-time champion Sebastian Vettel failing to finish.

It has been a weekend of double sporting celebration for austerity-hit Spain after Xabi Alonso's two goals gave the defending champions a 2-0 quarterfinal win over France in Euro 2012 on Saturday.

"I cannot put into words the special feeling of winning your home grand prix," Alonso told the post race press conference.

"It is unique and special. The stands were full of color and Spanish flags and, after the footballers won at Euro 2012, I am feeling very proud to be Spanish at the moment. This is possibly the best victory I have ever had."

Fernando Alonso's drive to the top
I am feeling very proud to be Spanish at the moment. This is possibly the best victory I have ever had
Fernando Alonso

But coming from 11th on the grid, Alonso needed a touch of good fortune to complete his remarkable victory ahead of Kimi Raikkonen in a Lotus.

Red Bull's Vettel looked to be cruising from pole position to a third straight win on the street circuit in southern Spain, but his car suffered an engine failure on lap 35 of 57.

With Vettel's retirement, Romain Grosjean of France in his Lotus looked primed for his maiden victory, but he too suffered a sudden engine failure, both alternator problems according to pit lane sources.

There was bitter disappointment as well for McLaren's Hamilton, who was in third on the penultimate lap when he crashed out in controversial fashion as he tried to hold off Pastor Maldonado in the Williams.

Hamilton, who had scored in all previous rounds of the championship, flung his steering wheel away in frustration before marching back to the pits.

Venezuela's Maldonado slipped back to 10th after the collision, leaving Michael Schumacher to come through for his first podium finish since returning to F1 in 2010 with Mercedes.

"I asked my guys at the end of the race where I finished and when they told me third, I couldn't believe it. You lose count of where you are, it was busy at the end of the race," he said.

Maldonado was later penalized 20 seconds by race stewards, dropping him back to 12th, with temmate Bruno Senna taking 10th for Williams.

Force India pair Nico Hulkenberg and Paul di Resta took a fine fifth and seventh, sandwiching Nico Rosberg in the second Mercedes.

Jenson Button was eighth for McLaren, Sergio Perez in ninth for Sauber.

Alonso leads the title race on 111 points from Red Bull's Mark Webber in second on 91 after his fourth place finish in Spain. Hamilton has 88 with Vettel four points behind in fourth place.

Part of complete coverage on
Track the buzz of the 2014 Formula One season, race by race, with all the latest social reaction from motorsport experts.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1113 GMT (1913 HKT)
Too weak. Can't handle the pressure. Susie Wolff has heard it all -- but she is determined to become the first female F1 driver in 20 years.
CNN's Amanda Davies visits the headquarters of Mercedes, the dominant team in Formula One this season.
March 15, 2014 -- Updated 0108 GMT (0908 HKT)
The big winners of this Formula One season could be road drivers rather than F1 racers, according to one former world champion.
March 14, 2014 -- Updated 1730 GMT (0130 HKT)
The Williams team welcomes the biggest rule changes to Formula One cars for a generation.
March 13, 2014 -- Updated 1916 GMT (0316 HKT)
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton sums up the dawn of a new Formula One era in three juicy words -- weird, mind-blowing and challenging.
March 12, 2014 -- Updated 1216 GMT (2016 HKT)
Formula One is taking another step in its techno evolution this season, which could be more unpredictable than it has been for a long time.
February 24, 2014 -- Updated 1736 GMT (0136 HKT)
Jann Mardenborough on the similarities and differences between driving a race on a video game and driving a real F1 car.
February 22, 2014 -- Updated 1226 GMT (2026 HKT)
Russia's President Vladimir Putin watches the men's cross-country 4 x 10km relay event at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics on February 16, 2014. AFP PHOTO/ RIA-NOVOSTI/ POOL/ MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV (Photo credit should read MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/AFP/Getty Images)
How Russian president Vladimir Putin helped turn a muddy hole in the ground into a $400 million futuristic grand prix track in Sochi.
February 21, 2014 -- Updated 0013 GMT (0813 HKT)
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (R) and Formula One racing director Bernie Ecclestone talk during a ceremony of signing of an agreement to bring Formula One racing to Sochi for a Grand Prix Russia to be held in 2014, the same year the Black Sea resort hosts the Winter Olympics in Sochi on October 14, 2010. Putin, whose backing was crucial in Sochi winning the right to host the Games, is due in the city on Thursday to sign an agreement for work to begin on the construction of a new 200 million dollar circuit. AFP PHOTO/ ALEXANDER NEMENOV (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Vilified by the the international community for his government's attitude on gay rights, Russian president Vladimir Putin has found an ally.
March 13, 2014 -- Updated 1613 GMT (0013 HKT)
Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel is bidding for a fifth consecutive drivers' championship in 2014.
He is Formula One's undisputed No. 1, and next season Sebastian Vettel will have proof of that fact emblazoned on his Red Bull.
December 4, 2013 -- Updated 1633 GMT (0033 HKT)
A new era of F1 looms large on the horizon in 2014, but what do the new rules mean for how we watch the sport? Get up to speed here.
October 17, 2013 -- Updated 1056 GMT (1856 HKT)
Explore our interactive of one of F1's most important and complicated pieces of kit.