|Born||29 July 1981|
Oviedo, Asturias, Spain
|Formula One World Championship Statistics|
|Team||Mild Seven Renault F1 Team|
Alonso began 2006 with a string of wins and podiums that by mid-season gave him a substantial lead over Schumacher, whose faltering Ferrari was subsequently improved to overcome Renault's initial performance advantage. Thus empowered, the German staged a brilliant comeback that made the Spaniard's eventual title triumph all the more memorable. The fact that they were so evenly matched, with seven wins each, substantiated Alonso's status as a worthy successor to the retiring Schumacher.
Alonso won the first race of the 2006 season in Bahrain, overtaking Michael Schumacher after coming out of the pit lane with 18 laps left, after starting fourth. He qualified seventh at the Malaysian Grand Prix due to a fuelling error but finished second to team mate Giancarlo Fisichella. He won the Australian Grand Prix after overtaking leader Jenson Button's Honda.
After poor qualifying at San Marino, Alonso was unable to pass Michael Schumacher in an encounter that echoed their battle the previous year. Schumacher beat Alonso again in the European Grand Prix after the Spaniard started on pole, but Alonso hit back, becoming the first Spaniard to win the Spanish Grand Prix. Alonso took pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix after Schumacher was penalised by the stewards for "deliberately [stopping] his car on the circuit in the last few minutes of qualifying", denying his rivals, Alonso included, the opportunity of recording fastest qualifying lap. Alonso won the race.
He extended his winning streak to four races with victories in Britain and Canada. Both wins came from pole position, and the British round was his first win, pole and fastest lap hat trick. He also became the first driver in history to finish first or second in the first nine races of the season, a record equalled by Sebastian Vettel in 2011. Schumacher's fight back began at Indianapolis where the German won and Alonso was fifth. Schumacher won the French Grand Prix, with Alonso in second, and the Spaniard was fifth in the German Grand Prix. That cut Alonso's championship lead to 11 points.
Alonso incurred a penalty for an infraction in practice at the Hungarian Grand Prix which left him 15th on the grid. Schumacher started 11th after receiving a similar penalty. Alonso looked set for an unlikely win as he overtook most of the field, including Schumacher around the outside of turn five, as he showed prowess in the wet conditions, but he crashed out of the race when a wheel nut fell off his car following a pit stop. Schumacher scored one point after Robert Kubica was disqualified.
Alonso finished second in Turkey, holding back third-placed Schumacher to claim two vital points, but he lost a lot of ground after a controversial Italian Grand Prix. He suffered a puncture during qualifying that damaged bodywork at the back of his car. He qualified fifth but was later punished by the stewards for impeding Felipe Massa's Ferrari, and he started the race from tenth. In the race he rose to third place before an engine failure forced him to retire. Schumacher won the Grand Prix and cut Alonso's Championship lead to two points.
At the following round in China, Alonso took pole position during a wet qualifying session but finished second to Schumacher in the race. The result tied Alonso and Schumacher on points in the drivers championship. At the Japanese Grand Prix, the Ferraris of Schumacher and Massa qualified first and second, more than half a second faster than the Renaults in fifth and sixth. But during the race Alonso rose to second and took the win after Schumacher's engine failed. It gave him a ten point advantage over Schumacher, needing only one point from the final round to retain the title. Second place in the Brazilian Grand Prix on October 22 gave Alonso the championship. With Schumacher finishing fourth, the final difference was 13 points. Alonso thus became the youngest double champion in the sport's history. Renault also clinched the Constructors' Championship with a 5-point gap over Ferrari.
Complete Formula One resultsEdit
(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)
|2006||Mild Seven Renault F1 Team||Renault R26||Renault RS26 2.4 V8|| BHR|