The Monaco Grand Prix is the most glamorous race to win on the F1 calendar. The history, the prestige, the glamor. It's truly an honor. But the race that everyone really wants to win is their home grand prix. Fernando Alonso won in Spain once a few years ago, but hasn't done it again since.
That changed today. In a masterful drive where the teams basically spat in the face of the Pirelli tires, Alonso was the dominant force.
The start saw the Mercedes teammates of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton line up first and second. They didn't stay there long. As we've seen for most of the season, the Mercedes has excellent one lap pace but just can't string an entire race together. For Hamilton, his place in the top two ended after three corners.
And that was thanks first to Sebastian Vettel, but more impressively to Fernando Alonso who shot out of his fifth place grid spot like he had a rocket in the back of that Ferrari. Alonso's pass on Hamilton was around the outside of turn three, which is a long right hand sweeper.
He was in the marbles, it looked like he was going to lose grip and run off track. But nah. Alonso has what NBC commentator David Hobbs referred to as 'testicular fortitude.' And he has it in spades.
Alonso stayed in lock step with Rosberg and Vettel, but made an earlier pit stop than the two of them. These early stops came because a few teams decided that it was time to stop running to the tires, but instead run the race that they wanted. Ferrari and a few other teams went for a four stop strategy. That let them run the tires ragged instead of driving to a time and conserving them as much.
His strategy worked, because Alonso leap frogged Vettel when they stopped on lap 11. Then Alonso caught Rosberg two laps later at the end of the front straight, put the moves on him around the outside (because Rosberg likes to make his car very wide) and took over the lead.
But we couldn't count out Kimi Raikkonen at this point. An interesting strategy led to two early stops for the Kimster, all on the medium tires. Kimi was able to close in and take the lead from Alonso during his pit stop, but it didn't last long.
Alonso wasn't about to lose this race. He quickly dispatched of Kimi and drove off into the sunset, securing his 32nd career win. That moves him to fourth on the all-time win list and makes him a hero once again in Spain. I imagine there will be A LOT of drinking tonight.
Behind Alonso, Raikkonen was able to come home second in another brilliant drive and his third consecutive podium. Ferrari's Felipe Massa finished third, another great result in a resurgent season.
Sebastian Vettel was strangely absent for the whole race and ended up fourth, with Mark Webber right behind. Polesitter Nico Rosberg, who was at a loss for words after the race, ended up sixth. That's better than his teammate Lewis Hamilton, who was 12th and earned no points.
Mercedes, which is so solid in qualifying every week, has a lot of work to do.
McLaren came into the race looking desperate, with a car that has been basically nowhere all season. A number of improvements were supposed to move them up the grid. While they qualified pretty poorly, both cars did end up with some points. Button started 14th and finished 8th, so that's a solid improvement. They still have a long way to go though.
Pirelli's tires have come into question a number of times this season thanks to insane wear and degradation. It seems like Ferrari had enough. They wanted to race. It made the strategy exciting, and especially seeing the Ferraris drop back and then reel off a number of hot laps to claw their way back after the stops was a lot of fun. It was qualifying every lap.
And that strategy worked out perfectly. Alonso's spirited drive was the star of the show. Now he better go enjoy all of those girlfriends that he has.