By Andrew Benson
Motorsport editor at Silverstone
World champion Fernando Alonso put in a display of crushing superiority in his Renault to win the British Grand Prix.
BRITISH GRAND PRIX RESULT
1 F Alonso (Renault)
2 M Schumacher (Ferrari)
3 K Raikkonen (McLaren)
4 G Fisichella (Renault)
5 F Massa (Ferrari)
6 JP Montoya (McLaren)
7 N Heidfeld (Sauber)
8 J Villeneuve (Sauber)
With a race of typically relentless precision, the Spaniard led all but one lap to beat championship rival Michael Schumacher of Ferrari by 13.9 seconds.
Schumacher, who trails Alonso in the title race by 23 points with 10 races to go, won a fight with Kimi Raikkonen.
Jenson Button's miserable home race ended after nine laps, when he spun off on oil from his smoking Honda engine.
Until that point, Button had looked as if he might salvage something from the disappointment of qualifying only 19th because of a team error.
He made up five places on the opening lap and was up to 12th, and looking set to score points, before his untimely retirement.
Button's team-mate Rubens Barrichello made it a double disappointment for Honda.
The Brazilian started sixth, but slipped down the field to finish well out of the points in 10th.
Alonso, Raikkonen and Schumacher moved away from the grid cleanly and held position going on the first lap.
You have to say we weren't quick enough this weekend; we'll keep working on that
Behind them a collision at Becketts between the Toro Rosso of Scott Speed and Toyota of Ralf Schumacher, which also collected the innocent Mark Webber's Williams, brought out the safety car.
When the race restarted after three laps, F1's three biggest stars circulated nose-to-tail initially, but the Renault driver soon began to pile on the pressure with a series of fastest laps.
Raikkonen, who had Schumacher right behind him, had no answer, and Alonso's lead was out to more than three seconds before his rivals made their first pit stops.
Schumacher pitted first, on lap 18, with Raikkonen following him on the next tour.
Alonso's superiority was underlined when he stayed out for a further three laps before making his stop, showing that not only could he lap faster than his rivals but he could do it with more fuel on board, and therefore a heavier car.
Once the pit stops were completed, Alonso was more than 10 seconds in front.
The race - for the lead at least - was over, and the world champion paced himself to the finish and a fifth victory in eight races this year.
"Victory today was quite OK for us," Alonso said.
Button's British Grand Prix hopes went up in smoke
"We saw we had more fuel than the others in qualifying and this helped in terms of strategy and things like that.
"The tyres performed very well, so there were not many options for the rivals to beat us.
"We prepared the car to be very quick at the end of the stints. I built a gap at the start of the race and then held it for the rest of the race."
Behind him, though, Raikkonen and Schumacher continued to tussle over second place.
The Finn held on in front through the first pit stops, and the gap between the two men stayed stable at just over one second until their second stops.
Schumacher came in on lap 41, one lap earlier than Raikkonen, and a blistering out-lap by the German leap-frogged him into second place.
Schumacher said: "We knew we had two sets of new tyres left and the others chose to use their new tyres at the start, so the only strategy we could pull was to come in a lap early and try to get in a traffic-free lap."
He added: "You have to say we weren't quick enough this weekend; we'll keep working on that."
Behind the leading trio, Alonso's team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella was fourth, ahead of the second Ferrari of Felipe Massa.
McLaren's Juan Pablo Montoya was sixth, with the BMW Saubers of Nick Heidfeld and Jacques Villeneuve completing the points-scoring positions.
British Grand Prix result:
1. Fernando Alonso (Spain) Renault 1:25:51.927
2. Michael Schumacher (Germany) Ferrari +00:13.951
3. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) McLaren 00:18.672
4. Giancarlo Fisichella (Italy) Renault 00:19.976
5. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari 00:31.559
6. Juan Pablo Montoya (Colombia) McLaren 01:04.769
7. Nick Heidfeld (Germany) BMW Sauber 01:11.594
8. Jacques Villeneuve (Canada) BMW Sauber 01:18.299
9. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Williams 01:19.008
10. Rubens Barrichello (Brazil) Honda 1 lap
11. Jarno Trulli (Italy) Toyota 1 lap
12. David Coulthard (Britain) RedBull 1 lap
13. Vitantonio Liuzzi (Italy) Toro Rosso 1 lap
14. Christian Klien (Austria) RedBull 1 lap
15. Christijan Albers (Netherlands) Midland 1 lap
16. Tiago Monteiro (Portugal) Toyota 2 laps
17. Takuma Sato (Japan) Honda 3 laps
18. Franck Montagny (France) Honda 3 laps
Jenson Button (Britain) Honda lap 9
Scott Speed (US) Toro Rosso lap 1
Ralf Schumacher (Germany) Toyota lap 1
Mark Webber (Australia) Williams lap 1
Fastest Lap: Fernando Alonso, 1:21.599, lap 21.