Local hero Alonso takes European Grand Prix win in Valencia

Local hero Alonso takes European Grand Prix win in Valencia Valencia's street circuit is built each year ahead of the event

Hundreds of thousands of fans have flooded the streets of Valencia to watch local hero Fernando Alonso claim the European Grand Prix in emphatic style.

The Ferrari driver was followed home by veterans Kimi Raikkonen in the Lotus, who took second place, and seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher in third.

It was the first pole for Mercedes driver Schumacher since his return to the sport in 2010 following an aborted retirement.

Alonso becomes the first double winner of the 2012 Formula 1 season, and the new championship leader.

Following today’s victory, the Spaniard sits on 111 points, ten points clear of Mark Webber in second, with Britain’s Lewis Hamilton down in third on 88 points.

Following the win Alonso told the waiting press: “I cannot put into words the special feeling of winning your home grand prix.

“It is unique and special.

“I had the opportunity in Barcelona in 2006 and did the same here in Valencia.

“The stands were full of colour and Spanish flags and, after the footballers won at Euro 2012, I am feeling very proud to be Spanish at the moment.

“This is possibly the best victory I have ever had.”

The Spanish football team yesterday beat France 2-0 in the UEFA European Championships, while Rafael Nadal starts his charge for the Wimbledon tennis crown tomorrow in what is becoming a golden age for Spanish sport.