Ferrari's Fernando Alonso wins his home Spanish Grand Prix for the second time
Teammate Felipe Massa claims third behind Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen
Raikkonen closes gap on overall leader Sebastian Vettel, who is fourth for Red Bull
Pole winner Nico Rosberg is sixth, while teammate Lewis Hamilton drops to 12th
Fernando Alonso savored the sweet taste of victory in front of his home fans after kickstarting his Formula One title bid with a commanding victory in Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix.
The two-time world champion won by more than nine seconds from Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen after starting from fifth on the grid, as he reduced his deficit behind overall leader Sebastian Vettel to 17 points.
“It’s very special winning at home, it doesn’t matter how many times you do, it’s always like starting from zero,” said the 31-year-old, whose only other victory at the Circuit de Catalunya was back in 2006 in the same season he won his second world title with Renault.
“It was fantastically emotional and the fans really helped because you feel the support from everyone.
“The last laps are very long because you want the race to finish as soon as possible, but I’m very happy for the team.”
It was a good day for Ferrari, as Felipe Massa bounced back from the three-place grid penalty that dropped him to ninth at the start, with the Brazilian claiming third on the podium ahead of Vettel and the German’s Red Bull teammate Mark Webber.
“I was a little disappointed after qualifying yesterday, but the race was very good for us and we were very aggressive,” Massa said.
“We struggled a bit on the tires to survive in a good way – and the race was very good for us.”
Alonso, who made a flying start, had four pit stops as opposed to the three of Raikkonen due to an early puncture but was able to take the checkered flag for the 32nd time in his career to move above Lewis Hamilton into third place overall.
Raikkonen reduced Vettel’s lead to just four points as the Finn finished second for the third successive race, having also won the season opener in Australia.
“I don’t mind finishing second. I’m here only to do as good a race as I can and, despite finishing second, we have to take what we can from every race,” the 2007 world champion said.
Vettel said the difference in pace with his rivals was due to tire wear and not the cars.
“The first three cars were a little too fast for us and in looking after their tires they did a better job today.
“If you talk about race distances, then it’s a different game. I think the car is quick enough, but there’s something we do to the tires to make them wear more.”
Pole-sitter Nico Rosberg was sixth for Mercedes as the team’s pre-race worries about tire degradation proved correct – Hamilton dropped from second at the start to finish outside the points in 12th.
“We have got a lot of work to do,” Hamilton said. “We both went backwards, but I went back a long, long way and I don’t know why. We will go back to the drawing board and see what we can do.”
Paul di Resta continued his solid season with seventh for Force India, while 2009 world champion Jenson Button fought back from a torrid qualifying on Saturday to claim eighth ahead of McLaren teammate Sergio Perez.
Daniel Ricciardo earned the final point on offer as he finished 10th for Toro Rosso.