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Schumi rejuvenated by home win

Schumacher hoisted the European Grand Prix trophy over his head and shouted in joy as if it were the first he had ever won.

india Updated: May 08, 2006 08:49 IST

Michael Schumacher hoisted the European Grand Prix trophy over his head and shouted in joy as if it were the first he had ever won.

The Ferrari driver saw off Renault's world champion Fernando Alonso on Sunday in front of 121,000 home fans.

"I'm just overjoyed with this," said Schumacher, sounding more like an excited rookie rather than a veteran who had just collected his 86th career victory and fifth win on the Nuerburgring that is near his childhood hometown of Kerpen.

"To win at my home grand prix is a fantastic feeling, a feeling that I haven't had in a long time."

The 37-year-old overtook Alonso, who started on pole, after the second round of pitstops when he came in three laps after the Spaniard and went back out still ahead of him.

"This was a hard piece of work. It was a very tight race until that second stop. Both of us were hitting our limits," the seven-times world champion said.

"In the end we were faster. It's tremendous to have so much support here and even nicer to give them all something back."

It was Schumacher's second consecutive win and cut Alonso's lead in the championship after five of 18 races to 13 points.

"I think at the moment there can be no doubt that we can stay with them," he said. "I don't think the win today was that close. I would say we were faster the whole race.

"I could hold his pace when I was behind and was faster when I was in front."

Schumacher was clearly eager to prove the victory at San Marino two weeks ago, his first since 2004 against a full field, was not a fluke.

"At Imola we had tyre problems and we would have been faster there without those problems," said the German, who beat Alonso into second there.

"I think we can claim to have the better package at the moment. I think that we have to find out if that's the case on all types of circuits."

A delighted Schumacher punched his fists in the air and waved to the red-shirted German Ferrari supporters so much during his victory lap that he nearly drove off the circuit.

"I never had doubts that we were in a position to fight for the championship," he said.

"At the moment everything is falling into place perfectly. I can't wait for the next race."