Fernando Alonso thrills home fans at Spanish Grand Prix

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Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso pours champagne on team principal Stefano Domenicali after winning the Spanish Grand Prix.  LUCA BRUNO/ASSOCIATED PRESS
LUCA BRUNO/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso pours champagne on team principal Stefano Domenicali after winning the Spanish Grand Prix.

BARCELONA, Spain — Fernando Alonso gave the home fans exactly the kind of daring and dominant drive they came to see. Keeping them celebrating at the end of the season might be a bit more difficult.

Alonso won the Spanish Grand Prix with a commanding performance Sunday, but then said Ferrari still needs a more pace to beat three-time defending champion Sebastian Vettel in the race for the Formula One title.

Alonso was fifth on the grid but used an aggressive start to take control and beat Kimi Raikkonen, of Lotus, by nearly 10 seconds, with teammate Felipe Massa 26 seconds behind.

More importantly, Vettel was a distant 38.2 seconds back in fourth, meaning Alonso cut the gap to 17 points in the overall standings after five races.

With two Ferrari drivers on the podium and none from Red Bull, Alonso still cautioned that the Italian team hasn’t caught up to its main rival.

“Last year we didn’t
win (the championship). We were one second off (the pace), but we managed to fight until the Brazil race,” said Alonso, a two-time former champion. “This year we have a package that is still not the fastest but we are working on it.”

INDYCAR SERIES: Carlos Munoz shot straight to the top of the Indianapolis 500 speed chart Sunday.

A little more than 24 hours after passing his rookie test, the Colombian narrowly averted a collision with teammate Marco Andretti in the first turn and posted the fastest lap in two practice sessions by going 223.023 mph on a cold, windy day.

Despite the near mishap, Andretti Autosport still claimed four of the top six spots Sunday.

Defending series champ Ryan Hunter-Reay posted Sunday’s second-fastest time at 222.825.

Venezuela’s E.J. Viso was third at 222.523. Andretti was fourth at 222.485 and James Hinchcliffe was sixth at 220.907.

The only non-Andretti driver among the top six was rookie AJ Allmendinger, who was fifth at 221.279. He drives for Penske Racing.

Speeds should increase later this week.


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