Formula One

 
               === Alonso taking points lead into British GP ===
 
 Philadelphia,  PA  (Sports Network) - Fernando  Alonso has a third Formula One
 world championship in mind right now.
 
 Alonso,  the 2005 and '06 world champion, became the first repeat winner in F1
 this  season with  a come-from-behind victory last month in the European Grand
 Prix  in Valencia  Spain. The Ferrari driver  started way back in 11th, but to
 the  delight  of his home crowd  on hand, he  grabbed the lead from Red Bull's
 Sebastian  Vettel  just past the halfway  point and took control from there in
 the  57-lap  race. Vettel,  who had  won the  European GP  the past two years,
 stalled on the track due to a mechanical issue and was forced to retire.
 
 Alonso  claimed his 29th  career F1 win, but this victory was perhaps his most
 memorable one.
 
 "I think from the emotional side this is the best one," he said. "The emotions
 that  I felt  on the in-lap or  during the podium ceremony, I think it doesn't
 compare to anything before."
 
 His  first  victory this year  came in the March  25 Malaysian Grand Prix. The
 season had featured a record seven different winners in as many races.
 
 After  winning the  European GP, Alonso moved atop the championship standings.
 He has accumulated 111 points so far, which is 20 points more than his closest
 competitor,  Mark Webber  from Red Bull. Lewis Hamilton came to Valencia first
 in  the rankings but  the McLaren driver fell 23 markers out of the lead after
 finishing 19th. Vettel dropped to 26 behind following his 21st-place result.
 
 This  weekend's British  Grand Prix in Silverstone, England will be round nine
 on  the 2012  calendar. Alonso  is  the defending  winner of  this event.  The
 British  GP  is the oldest race  on the F1 schedule,  but there has not been a
 back-to-back winner in it since David Coulthard did it in 1999 and 2000.
 
 Silverstone Circuit, located in Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire, England,
 has  been considered  as the  fastest  circuit on  the F1  schedule since  the
 mid-1980s, due to its high-speed corners.
 
 "It's  a  great place to  race," said Lotus driver  and 2007 British GP winner
 Kimi  Raikkonen.  "When I first  raced there it was  my real favorite. It's so
 fast  and demanding, which makes it very challenging. The corners really flow,
 and  it's all  about  long,  sweeping high-speed  corners  and high  downforce
 levels.  Somehow, it has  been a good circuit for me since the very beginning.
 It  will be interesting to see how the new section changes a lap, but I'm sure
 I'll learn it very quickly."
 
 The  British GP is a homecoming event of sorts for many F1 teams. Eight of the
 12  teams  -- Red  Bull,  McLaren,  Lotus,  Mercedes, Williams,  Force  India,
 Caterham and Marussia -- are all based in the United Kingdom.
 
 "Racing  in  Silverstone is a special  moment every year," Mercedes driver and
 three-time  British GP  winner Michael Schumacher said. "It's quite simply the
 home  of motorsports, and I'm always amazed by the knowledge and enthusiasm of
 the  British  fans. As a racing  driver, it's great to experience this passion
 for our sport."
 
 Schumacher's  third-place  finish in  the European GP  marked his first podium
 appearance  since coming  out of  retirement in  2010. Schumacher,  the record
 seven-time  F1 champion,  took a three-year break from the sport following the
 '06 season.
 
 "We  want to  take the momentum from our  result in Valencia and put on a good
 show  in  Silverstone, especially because  this is one  of our home races," he
 added.  "It goes without saying that we want to give everybody in Brackley and
 Brixworth (England) a result to be proud of this weekend."
 
 Series: Formula One. Date: Sunday, July 8. Race: British Grand Prix. Site:
 Silverstone Circuit. Track: 3.667-mile (5.891-kilometer), 18-turn road course.
 Start Time: 8 a.m. (et). Laps: 52. Miles: 190.676 (306.747 km). 2011 Winner:
 Fernando Alonso. Television: FOX (tape delay - noon ET).
 
 
 07/04 17:44:34 ET

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