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WORLD SPORT

Alonso delights crowd with victory

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Alonso's victory was the 11th of his career and puts him 15 points clear.

BARCELONA, Spain -- World champion Fernando Alonso became the first Spaniard to win his home grand prix on Sunday to the screaming adulation of a 130,000-strong crowd.

Watched by King Juan Carlos, and to a deafening roar from his ecstatic compatriots, the 24-year-old ended Michael Schumacher's hopes of a third win in succession for Ferrari.

The German, six times a winner at the Circuit de Catalunya and Alonso's closest rival in the championship after winning at the Nuerburgring last weekend, finished second 18.5 seconds adrift.

Drenched in the winners' champagne and congratulated on the sunlit podium by his king, Alonso said the afternoon ranked alongside winning the championship in Brazil last year as his happiest day.

"It is probably the best feeling so far in a Formula One car," he said. "This one was maybe a better feeling because we crossed the line winning the race."

"To race here in front of an all-blue grandstand is a different feeling and 66 laps is not enough to enjoy it all," he added. "But when you are leading, you want it to finish to celebrate already the victory."

Alonso's third win of the season, and 11th of his career, extended his overall lead over seven times champion Schumacher to 15 points after six rounds.

The Spaniard, who has now finished the last 12 races on the podium, has 54 points to Schumacher's 39.

"I think we did our maximum race performance today," Alonso told the post-race news conference. "Everything went perfectly as planned."

Meanwhile, Schumacher seemed content with his finishing position. "We were simply not quick enough today.

"It's eight points, you have to understand in certain moments what is possible and what is not. But it's a long way to go to the end of the season. I'm reasonably happy to lose only two points."

Italian Giancarlo Fisichella completed a solid afternoon for Renault, who announced a long-term commitment to Formula One before the race after carmakers agreed to sign a new commercial deal to 2012, by taking third place.

The Roman tried in vain to get past Alonso at the start after starting alongside on the front row and then lost time when he ran wide into the gravel.

Brazilian Felipe Massa was fourth for Ferrari, ahead of McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen and Honda's Briton Jenson Button and Brazilian Rubens Barrichello. Germany's Nick Heidfeld pocketed the final point in eighth place for BMW Sauber.

Raikkonen's team mate Juan Pablo Montoya had a miserable afternoon, spinning on the 19th of the 66 laps and retiring.

Barcelona also brought more misery for Toyota, with team mates Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli colliding on lap 16 as Ralf tried to overtake.

The German had to pit to replace a damaged front wing while Trulli, still without a point this year, finished 10th.

Briton David Coulthard finished out of the points in his 200th grand prix after starting from the back row of the grid in his Red Bull.

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