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 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
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 new Formula One season as it progresses, circuit by circuit, race by race.
March 14, 2013 -- Updated 1324 GMT (2124 HKT)
Can the new F1 season live up to last year's standards? Find out the need-to-know stories for 2013.
March 14, 2013 -- Updated 1148 GMT (1948 HKT)
CNN looks ahead to the Australian Grand Prix, the first F1 race of the 2013 season.
February 28, 2013 -- Updated 1824 GMT (0224 HKT)
Adrian Sutil will be Force India's second driver for the 2013 Formula One season, pledging to make the most of his "second chance".
March 2, 2013 -- Updated 0152 GMT (0952 HKT)
Christmas Abbott, 5'3 and 115 pounds, is the first woman to join a NASCAR pit crew team.
February 12, 2013 -- Updated 0035 GMT (0835 HKT)
The first race in Melbourne is just around the corner and Formula 1 teams are gearing up for a season which promises to be as technical as it is tactical.
March 1, 2013 -- Updated 1219 GMT (2019 HKT)
When the new Formula 1 season gets underway in March, for the first time there will be a woman running a team's entire operations from track to boardroom.
January 21, 2013 -- Updated 1222 GMT (2022 HKT)
The Dakar Rally is one of the world's most dangerous motorsport races, and this year's edition has already been marred by tragic deaths.
January 31, 2013 -- Updated 1920 GMT (0320 HKT)
The famous circuit of Nurburgring is confirmed Thursday as the venue for the 2013 German Grand Prix after reaching a deal with F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone.
November 27, 2012 -- Updated 1536 GMT (2336 HKT)
It did not take very long for the inevitable question to be asked -- just how good a driver is Sebastian Vettel?
January 24, 2013 -- Updated 1449 GMT (2249 HKT)
Changes to tires will make Formula 1 racing faster with more overtaking in 2013, according to the sport's official tire supplier Pirelli.
November 26, 2012 -- Updated 0935 GMT (1735 HKT)
Michael Schumacher, Alain Prost, and contemporary pacesetters Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso were all contenders.
November 23, 2012 -- Updated 1332 GMT (2132 HKT)
Who is the greatest F1 driver of all time? Past and present drivers give their verdict on the contenders to CNN.
CNN has asked Formula One stars past and present, "Who is the best driver of all time?" Now we want to hear from you.
November 20, 2012 -- Updated 0948 GMT (1748 HKT)
A triumphant Lewis Hamilton called Sunday's United States Grand Prix the best race of 2012 but for many it was more important than that -- it was Formula One being reborn in the USA.
CNN's Ben Wyatt says Sebastian Vettel or Fernando Alonso will seal their place in F1 history in Brazil this weekend.
November 25, 2012 -- Updated 1941 GMT (0341 HKT)
The F1 title race will be fought over 20 races this season. Keep track of the latest standings in the drivers' and manufacturers' championships.
November 16, 2012 -- Updated 1520 GMT (2320 HKT)
Mario Andretti says the key to rekindling F1 in the U.S. is a buzzword that has been flying around Washington faster than a Ferrari -- stability.
Today's five most popular stories