Alonso's day in the sun

Even if he achieves nothing more in this sport (massively unlikely), Fernando Alonso will always be able to wallow in the memory of one summer's day in Hungary when he lapped history's most successful racing driver

Alonso's day in the sun

First-time wins are special enough in Formula 1, but this one stood out in a season that saw no less than three drivers take maiden wins. Alonso's victory was an imperious canter that Jimmy Clark would have been proud of, and putting a lap on Michael Schumacher will always live with him.

And the point of his achievement is this: in Budapest the Spaniard became the youngest-ever winner of a Grand Prix. Alonso finally broke Bruce McLaren's record that dated back to the 1959 United States Grand Prix.

Budapest was a remarkable place for one so young to win his first Grand Prix. The race is the longest and hottest on the calendar, and the track demands maximum concentration for its endless succession of turns. It is dusty off-line and unforgiving of mistakes.



Alonso took pole position for the race and led the entire distance. Although many of his rivals tripped over themselves on raceday, Alonso and his Renault were undoubtedly in a class of their own. For the only afternoon all year, the car was the best of the lot, and Alonso delivered without dramas.

"After eight or nine laps, I asked the team 'Where are the others?'," said Alonso, surprised that the opposition weren't lining up behind him. "They told me: '15 seconds back,' and I thought, 'Oh my God, I am very fast now."

Neither Alonso nor Renault were used to winning, and reliability had been a worry factor all year long. This could have turned into nerves or mistakes when finding themselves in an unexpectedly overwhelming lead, but none came.

Alonso was just 22 years and 26 days old when he won this race, which edged McLaren's mark by 77 days. In so doing he also became the first Spaniard to win a Grand Prix.

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