Alonso: F1 Qatar GP podium return felt "unbelievable"

Fernando Alonso said his return to the Formula 1 podium at the Qatar Grand Prix felt "unbelievable".

Alonso: F1 Qatar GP podium return felt "unbelievable"

The Alpine driver pulled off a one-stop strategy from the second row on the grid at Losail to grab third place behind Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.

It was the best result of his comeback season so far and his first podium finish since he came home second for Ferrari at the 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix.

Speaking about his feelings after the race, Alonso said: “Yeah, unbelievable. Seven years and finally we got it. We were close a couple of races but not enough. Sochi was the last possibility and here today [we did it].”

Following grid penalties for Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas, Alonso started from third on the soft tyre – and revealed afterwards that he had actually been targetting snatching the lead from pole man Hamilton.

“Honestly, I thought about leading after lap one,” he said. “I thought with the red tyre, I could have a go on Lewis, but I couldn't.

“Then with Checo it was very close at the end. But I’m so happy for the team. Also Esteban P5, so a good Sunday.”

Fernando Alonso, Alpine A521, battles with Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Fernando Alonso, Alpine A521, battles with Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

While a number of other cars hit trouble with tyre failures on aged tyres, Alonso said that Alpine had set out from the beginning on stretching things out to minimise the number of stops.

And although there were some nerves on the pitwall, as the team urged Alonso to look after his rubber in the closing stages, the Spaniard held on well.

“We planned a one stop from the beginning, but we never knew how bad was the wear and the degradation,” he said.

“It is a new race for everybody. But yeah, I think it was quite well executed the race. The pitstop was fantastic. The team was great. The reliability of the car is superb, and you know they deserve it.”

Alonso’s third place and teammate Ocon’s fifth has helped Alpine open up a 25-point margin over main rival AlphaTauri in the constructors’ championship with two races remaining.

The two teams are locking in a tight fight for fifth place overall, with Alpine admitting that spot is a key target for the squad under its new identity this year.

shares
comments

Related video

F1 Grand Prix race results: Hamilton wins Qatar GP
Previous article

F1 Grand Prix race results: Hamilton wins Qatar GP

Next article

Horner summoned to F1 stewards on potential disrepute charge

Horner summoned to F1 stewards on potential disrepute charge
The Mercedes F1 pressure changes under 10 years of Toto Wolff Plus

The Mercedes F1 pressure changes under 10 years of Toto Wolff

OPINION: Although the central building blocks for Mercedes’ recent, long-lasting Formula 1 success were installed before he joined the team, Toto Wolff has been instrumental in ensuring it maximised its finally-realised potential after years of underachievement. The 10-year anniversary of Wolff joining Mercedes marks the perfect time to assess his work

The all-French F1 partnership that Ocon and Gasly hope to emulate Plus

The all-French F1 partnership that Ocon and Gasly hope to emulate

Alpine’s signing of Pierre Gasly alongside Esteban Ocon revives memories of a famous all-French line-up, albeit in the red of Ferrari, for BEN EDWARDS. Can the former AlphaTauri man's arrival help the French team on its path back to winning ways in a tribute act to the Prancing Horse's title-winning 1983?

Formula 1
Jan 31, 2023
How do the best races of F1 2022 stack up to 2021? Plus

How do the best races of F1 2022 stack up to 2021?

OPINION: A system to score all the grands prix from the past two seasons produces some interesting results and sets a standard that 2023 should surely exceed

Formula 1
Jan 31, 2023
Who were the fastest drivers in F1 2022? Plus

Who were the fastest drivers in F1 2022?

Who was the fastest driver in 2022? Everyone has an opinion, but what does the stopwatch say? Obviously, differing car performance has an effect on ultimate laptime – but it’s the relative speed of each car/driver package that’s fascinating and enlightening says ALEX KALINAUCKAS

Formula 1
Jan 30, 2023
Why F1's nearly man is refreshed and ready for his return Plus

Why F1's nearly man is refreshed and ready for his return

He has more starts without a podium than anyone else in Formula 1 world championship history, but Nico Hulkenberg is back for one more shot with Haas. After spending three years on the sidelines, the revitalised German is aiming to prove to his new team what the F1 grid has been missing

Formula 1
Jan 29, 2023
The potential-laden F1 car that Ferrari neglected Plus

The potential-laden F1 car that Ferrari neglected

The late Mauro Forghieri played a key role in Ferrari’s mid-1960s turnaround, says STUART CODLING, and his pretty, intricate 1512 was among the most evocative cars of the 1.5-litre era. But a victim of priorities as Formula 1 was deemed less lucrative than success in sportscars, its true potential was never seen in period

Formula 1
Jan 28, 2023
Why Vasseur relishes 'feeling the pressure' as Ferrari's F1 boss Plus

Why Vasseur relishes 'feeling the pressure' as Ferrari's F1 boss

OPINION: Fred Vasseur has spent only a few weeks as team principal for the Ferrari Formula 1 team, but is already intent on taking the Scuderia back to the very top. And despite it being arguably the most demanding job in motorsport, the Frenchman is relishing the challenge

Formula 1
Jan 27, 2023
The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023 Plus

The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023

Changes to the regulations for season two of Formula 1's ground-effects era aim to smooth out last year’s troubles and shut down loopholes. But what areas have been targeted, and what impact will this have?

Formula 1
Jan 26, 2023