Fernando Alonso has hailed his McLaren-Mercedes squad for bouncing back from team-mate Lewis Hamilton's hefty qualifying smash to play an instrumental role in his victory in the European Grand Prix - a result that has driven him right back into the championship fight.

The Spaniard sealed his success courtesy of a supremely gutsy overtaking move on Felipe Massa's Ferrari in tricky conditions in the race's closing stages. Indeed, the manner of the pass was all-the-sweeter as it came at the same spot where he had arguably thrown away pole position in qualifying with a mistake, and Alonso is well aware of the significance of the win after closing to within two points of Hamilton in the drivers' standings with seven races left to run.

"This was a really exciting race for both the drivers and all the fans," the reigning double world champion enthused afterwards. "The conditions were unbelievable - mainly at the start when we were just aquaplaning everywhere. In the dry conditions the Ferraris were a little faster but in the final stages when the rain started again we were quicker and I was able to overtake Felipe to take the lead.

"During this battle we touched twice, but that is motor racing and we were fighting for victory. There was also a close one in the pit-lane during my last stop where there was a lot of traffic and I was side-by-side with Giancarlo (Fisichella). All-in-all it was a good weekend for me, and I gained valuable world championship points for both me and the team. In difficult conditions the team did a great job."

Team boss Ron Dennis was similarly enthusiastic about the result - one that has seen McLaren extend its lead over Ferrari in the constructors' title chase to some 27 points.

"This was motor racing at its best," he underlined. "Fernando did a fantastic job demonstrating why he is a double world champion. First of all he kept the car on the road during the first downpour, and from that moment both he and the team made all the right decisions.

"His second stint following the switch to dry tyres was hampered by a wing adjustment tool failing and as a result he struggled with understeer, but fortunately in his third stop we were able to properly adjust the wing and from there his pace was fantastic. Following the final stop to fit the intermediate rain tyres he and the car came into their own, and it was great to be part of such a tremendous drive and a great race win."

"The best and most exciting race of the year," was Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Director Norbert Haug's summary. "In rarely-seen difficult conditions Fernando did a fantastic job and achieved a well-deserved victory. He was a class of his own in the rain.

"It is great to win on home soil, and I am sure the spectators here and in front of the TV enjoyed it a lot. Both drivers are at the top of the overall rankings within two points, and in the first ten races we have shown reliability. Everybody in the team will work hard to continue this achievement until after the end of the season."

 

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