World champion Fernando Alonso scorched to a crushing home win in the Spanish Grand Prix to send a sell-out 130,000 crowd wild in Barcelona yesterday.
Alonso received his winner's trophy from King Juan Carlos after a dominant display - but for the blue-shirted hordes in the packed grandstands, there was only one king of Spain yesterday.
The 24-year-old delivered a devastating performance to comfortably end Michael Schumacher's winning streak.
Despite a faster strategy, Schumacher had no answer to Alonso's pace - and the Ferrari driver slipped 15 points behind in the title race after finishing a distant second.
Alonso almost leapt out of his cockpit with delight on his slowing-down lap, waving frantically to his adoring public after becoming the first Spaniard to win his home race.
Formula One has only recently caught the Spanish imagination as a result of Alonso's emergence, and the national hero revealed this emotional triumph was more enjoyable than his world title win last year.
"So far this is the best thing that has happened to me in Formula One," said Alonso, who drove the King around the track in a Renault Megane before the race.
"I won the championship, but this is a better feeling. I finished in front of my people, my supporters - and it was the best feeling in a Formula One car. It will be difficult for me to forget this day."
Alonso's 11th career win, his 12th successive podium finish, came with ease - despite tense moments early in the race.
Team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella made a better start but just failed to squeeze through into turn one, leaving him to play the rear-gunner role and hold off Schumacher.
Renault's early pit stops gave Schumacher a clear track on which to rein in Alonso. But his Ferrari fell short, and by the time he made his second stop, his victory chances had evaporated.
The German admitted Ferrari were no match for Renault this time, despite their pace earlier in the weekend.
"The weekend started very well but went away from us," said Schumacher, who at least prevented a Renault one-two by beating Giancarlo Fisichella to second.
"We have to look into that; we were simply not quick enough today. The speed was not there."
Fisichella had led Schumacher for the first half of the race but slipped behind in the pits, with the Ferrari just emerging ahead of the Renault.
That should have given Fisichella a chance to hit back. But he ran wide through the gravel to let Schumacher off the hook - a mistake he blamed on a distracting radio call.
He said: "My engineers called me to say something, and I was in the middle of turn three. I went across the gravel and maybe damaged the car."
Just behind Fisichella, Felipe Massa finished in the top four for the third consecutive race to add more points to Ferrari's tally, although they now trail Renault by 19.
McLaren's chances of muscling in on that battle look slim, after Kimi Raikkonen's fifth place brought them their only points following Juan Pablo Montoya's spin.
Raikkonen held Jenson Button at bay to leave the Honda driver down in sixth - his best result in four races - while team-mate Rubens Barrichello was one place further back.
Nick Heidfeld rounded out the points for BMW-Sauber. But David Coulthard could not mark his 200th grand prix with a result to celebrate and brought his Red Bull home 15th.