'Third time just as emotional,' says Alonso of home win
12 May 2013
There's nothing like a home win for a sportsman, as the roar that greeted Fernando Alonso's victory at the end of the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona proved emphatically to all present to hear it.
And the race winner was quick to thank his fans in Spain for all their support, which had helped him clinch a third home win in F1 - a second Spanish Grand Prix to add to a first in 2006 and a European Grand Prix victory in Valencia last year.
"Even if this is the third time I've won a home race, the emotion is still very strong, as if it had never happened before," said the 31-year-old two-time world champion.
"It's nice to be able to give the whole of Spain this win, especially at a time when the country is in crisis and for many people it's not possible to come here to bring their support," he added.
Alonso had no complaints about the way that the day had done: "After a far from easy qualifying, everything went perfectly, the start, the strategy, pit stops, tyre management," he said.
"At the start, I had to make up some places but after passing the halfway point on the straight, there was no more room to do so," he continued. "I switched off the KERS, so as to use it in Turn 3, where I realised, after watching the GP2 race, that it was possible to attack around the outside.
There had been one scare during the race, through, when he'd been forced to pit unexpectedly early for his final set of tyres.
"We had to bring forward the final stop because of a slow puncture which meant the left rear tyre was losing pressure in the final part of the lap, but fortunately, that had no effect on the final outcome."
Fortunate indeed: if the tyre had deflated or blown at the wrong moment then it could have cost him the win and been a severe setback in his championship hopes. Instead, Alonso has moved up to third position in the driver standings ahead of Lewis Hamilton and is now just 17 points off Sebastian Vettel, as things tighten up at the start of the European phase of the season.
"I think that with this car we can fight for the World Championship, because in five races we have finished second once and had two wins," he said, sounding more upbeat about his title chances than he has in some time.
"From now on, we must manage to produce a consistent performance and score as many points as possible," he added. "We are well aware that we are not the quickest and to change that many people are working night and day at the track and in Maranello."
If the car does get a boost in performance to add to the Ferrari consistency and Alonso's own driving skills, then the rest of the field will be feeling very worried indeed on the evidence of this weekend's race in Spain.