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Rediff.com  » Sports » Alonso follows 'Pampas Bull' as Red Bull-beater

Alonso follows 'Pampas Bull' as Red Bull-beater

Last updated on: July 11, 2011 12:55 IST

Alonso follows 'Pampas Bull' as Red Bull-beater

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Spanish matador Fernando Alonso followed in the footsteps of a veteran Argentine red 'Bull' on Sunday to beat the modern-day Red Bulls and give Ferrari a longed-for 60th anniversary present.

Showing once again that Formula One can still deliver the most improbable of storylines, the Spaniard rolled back the ages with a Silverstone victory that was perfect in its symmetry.

The fairy tale started before the race when the double world champion took the historic red Ferrari 375F1 of 'Pampas Bull' Jose Froilan Gonzalez around the same circuit where the Italian glamour team celebrated their first championship grand prix win with the Argentine in July, 1951.

It ended when Alonso took the chequered flag 16.5 seconds ahead of Red Bull's world champion Sebastian Vettel, with the German's Australian team mate Mark Webber in third place.


Image: Ferrari Formula One driver Fernando Alonso of Spain
Photographs: Reuters
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It was Alonso's 27th career win

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His 27th career win equalled the tally of triple champion Jackie Stewart and lifted him to fifth equal in the all-time standings.

Champions Red Bull were favourites to take a third successive British Grand Prix triumph after sweeping the front row in qualifying, with Vettel chasing a seventh win in nine races.

However a nightmare second pitstop for Vettel, when mechanics struggled with a rear wheelnut on his car, gifted Alonso a lead he never gave up.


Image: Ferrari Formula One driver Fernando Alonso of Spain celebrates winning the British F1 Grand Prix at Silverstone

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'That car is part of the history of Ferrari'

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If he was delighted with the team's first win of the season, and first since last October when he triumphed in South Korea, Alonso was also thrilled with the direct link to the sport's golden era.

"I had two laps today with that car for the parade and it is part of the history of Ferrari," said Alonso of the Ferrari owned by Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone.

"It obviously means a lot for all the guys, the people working for Ferrari who are the sons or daughters of the guys that were here 60 years ago.

"They are working in the factory, with the same mentality, with the same passion for racing that is in Ferrari's DNA - of all the workers there."


Image: Ferrari Formula One driver Fernando Alonso (C) of Spain celebrates winning the British F1 Grand Prix as third placed Red Bull driver Mark Webber and second placed Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel

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It was Ferrari's 216th from 821 races

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Ferrari are the only team to have competed in every championship since the first in 1950 and their achievement in remaining at the top for decade after decade as the most successful team is remarkable.

Sunday's win was the team's 216th from 821 races.

They have failed to win at least one race a season only 11 times in that period and their last completely barren season was in 1993.

Red Bull's dominance had raised the spectre of that happening again but Alonso's achievement allowed the men from Maranello to breathe more easily.

Only four races ago, in Barcelona, Alonso had been lapped by Vettel.

The change in the engine regulations since the previous race in Valencia may have played a part, with Ferrari seemingly far less affected than Red Bull and McLaren, but so too did months of hard work playing catch-up.

"I feel very proud of them (the team), of this recovery, always fighting to win races," said Alonso, who is now third overall but 92 points behind Vettel with 10 races remaining.


Image: Ferrari's Formula One team poses in their pit garage after driver Fernando Alonso of Spain (C) won the British F1 Grand Prix at Silverstone

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Jenson Button's British GP jinx continues

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Jenson Button's British Grand Prix jinx continued on Sunday when the McLaren driver retired from his home race after a pitstop blunder while chasing a possible podium finish.

The 2009 world champion, who pitted 12 laps from the finish, was inadvertently cleared to leave the pitlane before the right front wheelnut had been secured.

With the wheel wobbling off, Button pulled over at the pitlane exit and parked up the car before walking back to the garages.

"The guy on the front right lost a wheel nut and he went to get another one but as he turned I think the lollipop man thought we were good to go," he said.

"I'm sorry for the fans that we couldn't do better because there was definitely a podium (to be had). This seems to be the way of it at British Grands Prix for me, but I'll try again next year."

Button has never stood on the Formula One podium at Silverstone in 12 attempts. His best previous result there was fourth place last year and in 2004.


Image: McLaren Formula One driver Jenson Button of Britain speaks with Britain's Prince Harry (R) before the British F1 Grand Prix at Silverstone

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