Spanish GP: Fernando Alonso takes commanding home win for Ferrari

Fernando Alonso sent the Spanish Grand Prix crowd into ecstasy as the Ferrari driver and home hero charged to his first Barcelona victory since 2006

Spanish GP: Fernando Alonso takes commanding home win for Ferrari

Kimi Raikkonen's Lotus emerged as Alonso's main rival, while Sebastian Vettel and the front-row-starting Mercedes faded in the race.

Felipe Massa moved in the opposite direction, recovering from a penalised ninth on the grid to take the final podium spot.

In a race full of tyre conservation, Alonso's approach from the outset was to charge.

While Vettel split the Mercedes into Turn 1, Alonso accelerated around the outside of both Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton at Turn 3 to move into third before the leading Germans.

Poleman Nico Rosberg clung on at the front of the field through the first pitstops.

By the time they were done, Alonso was his main rival, having pitted one lap ahead of Vettel and jumped the Red Bull.

Rosberg's plunge down the order began on lap 12, when Alonso passed him into Turn 1, and Vettel and Raikkonen further demoted him before the lap was complete.

Once in front, Alonso began to pull away.

Despite running longer in a bid for three stops, Vettel ultimately resorted to the same four-stop strategy as Alonso, but unable to match the Ferrari's sheer pace.

Raikkonen, however, could pull off a three-stop. He lost time behind Vettel in the middle of the race, then raised his pace after overtaking the Red Bull on lap 33.

Lotus had a potential edge going into the closing stages, with Raikkonen a few seconds ahead of Alonso at a point when both had a single stop to go.

But on his fresher tyres, Alonso stormed up behind Raikkonen at a rate of two seconds per lap, breezed past the Lotus then vanished into the distance, swiftly building a 12-second advantage.

Spanish GP weekend in pictures

Raikkonen was left to keep half an eye on Massa, who had been rapid all afternoon and got a green light from Ferrari to try to catch the Lotus. Tyre wear stymied this and forced Massa to back off again, but third was still safe.

Vettel's attempts to run longer on tyres ultimately cost him so much pace that he fell behind the earlier-pitting Massa.

The world champion had to settle for fourth, followed by his team-mate Mark Webber, who had slipped outside the top 10 at first with a terrible start.

Mercedes' fade ended with Rosberg pulling off a three-stop in sixth and his despondent team-mate Hamilton right out of the points in a lapped 12th, having gone into freefall following his first stop.

Paul di Resta's Force India chased Rosberg home.

McLaren ended up eighth and ninth. Jenson Button had tumbled to 17th in the opening laps, but nursed his tyres through three stops and emerged ahead of his early-charging, but four-stopping, team-mate Sergio Perez.

Daniel Ricciardo fended off Esteban Gutierrez to give Toro Rosso the final point.

It was still a breakthrough day for Gutierrez, as a long first stint meant Sauber's rookie managed to lead a Formula 1 race for the first time.

Pirelli ponders tyre changes after Spanish GP criticism

Last year's Barcelona winner Pastor Maldonado struggled home 14th, recovering from a pitlane speeding penalty to get there.

Romain Grosjean was an early retirement with skewed right rear suspension on his Lotus.

Two pitlane incidents attracted stewards' attention.

Caterham could face sanctions after Giedo van der Garde lost a wheel on his out-lap, while Nico Hulkenberg had an unsafe release penalty following a pitlane clash with Jean-Eric Vergne, prior to which both had been points contenders.

Results - 66 laps:

Pos  Driver               Team/Car                  Time/Gap
 1.  Fernando Alonso      Ferrari               1h39m16.596s
 2.  Kimi Raikkonen       Lotus-Renault             + 9.338s
 3.  Felipe Massa         Ferrari                  + 26.049s
 4.  Sebastian Vettel     Red Bull-Renault         + 38.273s
 5.  Mark Webber          Red Bull-Renault         + 47.963s
 6.  Nico Rosberg         Mercedes               + 1m08.020s
 7.  Paul di Resta        Force India-Mercedes   + 1m08.988s
 8.  Jenson Button        McLaren-Mercedes       + 1m19.506s
 9.  Sergio Perez         McLaren-Mercedes       + 1m21.738s
10.  Daniel Ricciardo     Toro Rosso-Ferrari         + 1 lap
11.  Esteban Gutierrez    Sauber-Ferrari             + 1 lap
12.  Lewis Hamilton       Mercedes                   + 1 lap
13.  Adrian Sutil         Force India-Mercedes       + 1 lap
14.  Pastor Maldonado     Williams-Renault           + 1 lap
15.  Nico Hulkenberg      Sauber-Ferrari             + 1 lap
16.  Valtteri Bottas      Williams-Renault           + 1 lap
17.  Charles Pic          Caterham-Renault           + 1 lap
18.  Jules Bianchi        Marussia-Cosworth         + 2 laps
19.  Max Chilton          Marussia-Cosworth         + 2 laps

Retirements:

     Jean-Eric Vergne     Toro Rosso-Ferrari         52 laps
     Giedo van der Garde  Caterham-Renault           21 laps
     Romain Grosjean      Lotus-Renault               8 laps

World Championship standings, round 5:                

Drivers:                    Constructors:             
 1.  Vettel         89        1.  Red Bull-Renault          131
 2.  Raikkonen      85        2.  Ferrari                   117
 3.  Alonso         72        3.  Lotus-Renault             111
 4.  Hamilton       50        4.  Mercedes                   72
 5.  Massa          45        5.  Force India-Mercedes       32
 6.  Webber         42        6.  McLaren-Mercedes           29
 7.  Di Resta       26        7.  Toro Rosso-Ferrari          8
 8.  Grosjean       26        8.  Sauber-Ferrari              5
 9.  Rosberg        22       
10.  Button         17       
11.  Perez          12       
12.  Ricciardo       7       
13.  Sutil           6       
14.  Hulkenberg      5       
15.  Vergne          1       
       
All timing unofficial
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