MADRID, Oct 23 (Reuters) Fernando Alonso's second consecutive Formula One world title was described as the start of a new legend by Spanish media today.
The Spaniard came in second behind local favourite Felipe Massa at the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday, as Michael Schumacher's brave attempt to pip him at the post came to nought in the last race of his career.
''Alonso starts his own legend,'' said El Pais, striking a contrast with the ending of seven-times world champion Schumacher's illustrious career.
Sports daily Marca said: ''In Sao Paulo, Alonso registered more than just his second title. He will be remembered as the champion that retired the greatest driver in history.'' Alonso only needed one point from his final race to secure the championship, while Schumacher needed to win to have any chance of overhauling the Spaniard's ten-point lead.
A puncture on the ninth lap blew the German's chances, though he went on to drive a thrilling race as he came back from last to finish fourth.
''Schumacher put on a great show for his farewell. He left with his image where it deserved to be,'' said El Mundo. Alonso: ''beat the best to be champion.'' The particular merit in his second title was put down to remaining calm under pressure as Schumacher slowly reeled him in in a tense, controversial and nerve-wracking finish to the season.
While Alonso's victory was widely reported across all Spanish media on Monday he took second billing to Real Madrid's 2-0 Primera Liga win over Barcelona on the front pages of the sports newspapers.
Football remains the number one sport in Spain though Alonso's success continues to win new fans to Formula One.
The fact that Real opened their doors early at the Bernabeu and showed the race live in the stadium before the match, attests to that.
With Spanish riders also doing well in motorcycling, one commentator said ''the world of motor sports is making a lot of noise.'' REUTERS DH BD1715