Fernando Alonso picked up his first podium in seven years | Top Gear
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Formula One

Fernando Alonso picked up his first podium in seven years

The first Qatar Grand Prix wasn't short of headlines, 'Nando's first podium since July 2014 among them

Published: 22 Nov 2021

Numerous headlines spilled out of the weekend’s Qatar Grand Prix. Firstly, the fact it was the Qatar Grand Prix, the first instance of a Formula One race at Losail International Circuit.

Then there was the result. Lewis Hamilton started on pole and took a dominant win, with title rival – and current championship leader – Max Verstappen behind in second, having cancelled out the five-place grid penalty he was hit with after qualifying. With two races left on the calendar, Max leads Lewis by eight points.

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But perhaps the big story of the weekend belongs to the man on the third step of the podium, one Fernando Alonso. He started third following Verstappen’s demotion and finished third, too.

That’s his first podium since July 2014, believe it or not. And the 98th of his career, after a drought of 104 races during which his best finish was fourth.

“It felt fantastic today and to be back on the podium was so good,” said Fernando afterwards. “We deserved this result as a team, and I’ve had to wait seven years since my last one. Hopefully we don’t need to wait this long again!

“We took some risks with the one-stop strategy, but it worked out well. I love this track and the car felt amazing all weekend, so I can’t wait to come back here. There was also quite a lot of action and overtakes, which is something we weren’t sure of at the start of the weekend. In the end, it was a perfect weekend for us and we scored lots of points in the Constructors’ Championship, so now we have a good advantage over Alpha Tauri heading into the final two races.”

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Indeed, Alpine are in fifth with a 25-point leaded, aided by Alonso’s teammate Esteban Ocon finishing fifth in Qatar.

“Huge congratulations to Fernando on his podium,” said Alpine chief executive Laurent Rossi. “It marks his first since returning to the team and, I must say, after the season he has had, he truly deserves it.

“We knew a big opportunity would arise today with the pre-race grid penalties for some cars around us, which propelled us into a great starting position. From there, it was down to him at the wheel to navigate himself into contention, for the team to execute the right strategy by making the calls at the right time and the crew to deliver the perfect pit-stop. All of those elements fell into place and the end result is a deserved one: our second visit to the podium of the season.”

Delighted for ‘Nando?

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