Alonsomania Knocks Football Off Spain's Frontpages

Fernando Alonso's remarkable second place in the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix in Barcelona saw him achieve that rare feat of knocking football off the frontpages of the country's sports press today.

Alonsomania Knocks Football Off Spain's Frontpages

Fernando Alonso's remarkable second place in the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix in Barcelona saw him achieve that rare feat of knocking football off the frontpages of the country's sports press today.

The 21-year-old Renault driver's achievement in splitting the Ferraris of Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello brought him the sobriquet "Magic Alonso" in two of Spain's sports newspapers and there were plenty more compliments elsewhere.

"Schumacher won, yes," noted El Pais. "But he had to suffer to do it. He couldn't afford to take his eyes off the rear-view mirror."

Alonso's second place made him the first Spaniard to score points at home and matched the country's best result, obtained by Alfonso de Portago at Silverstone in 1956. For sports daily As, the young Spaniard's drive was as impressive a performance as anyone has produced so far this season.

"When he crossed the line, an emotional Alonso was able to celebrate a brilliant race, worthy of the world's best driver," the newspaper said. "Alonso gave himself the luxury of fighting it out with the five-times World Champion, who had to squeeze everything out of his car to avoid being caught."

A crowd of close to 100,000 packed the stands at Montmelo to cheer Alonso home.

"The public were the seventh gear for me," Alonso told Spanish reporters after the race. "It was just fantastic, the most important day of my career to date, and I'll never forget it."

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