United States GP: Fernando Alonso describes third as like a win

Fernando Alonso declared his third place in the United States Grand Prix as satisfying as a victory after a difficult qualifying on Saturday

United States GP: Fernando Alonso describes third as like a win

The Ferrari driver qualified in ninth position, but moved up to eighth because of a gearbox-change penalty for Lotus Romain Grosjean.

On Sunday the Spaniard was elevated to seventh position on the grid after the team decided to incur a penalty for Felipe Massa in order to give Alonso a better chance at the start.

The double champion made good use of that and moved to fourth on the opening lap before he inherited third when Mark Webber retired.

The result allowed Alonso to stay in the championship fight going into the final race of the season in Brazil, as he is now 13 points behind second-place finisher Sebastian Vettel.

The Spanish driver admitted the opening lap was crucial for his hopes.

"We know that our championship is alive thanks to the first laps," said Alonso. "We always qualified around seventh or eighth, and finish the first lap in the first three or four positions and after that the race becomes a bit easier if you are in leading group.

"Today we knew we had a good chance. I tried to overtake people at the first corner and then the pace improved and we were in the leading group.

"Today was not possible to have the pace of these two guys [Lewis Hamilton and Vettel]. They were too far ahead. I had enough to keep the guys behind.

"This weekend it is like a victory for us. Losing just three points was something no one thought yesterday night or Friday night after practice. So we are happy to have another good Sunday and score good points again."

Alonso, who has not won a race since the German Grand Prix in July, needs to finish at least third to have a chance of winning the title in the Brazil finale.

If he wins, however, he would need Vettel to finish outside the top four at Interlagos.

"We go to Brazil with the possibility to fight for the championship," he said. "It is something we have been fighting for during the whole year.

"Only Seb is in a better position than us. We should be proud of ourselves, enjoy the race and see at the end what the outcome is."

shares
comments
United States GP: Caterham Sunday quotes

Previous article

United States GP: Caterham Sunday quotes

Next article

United States GP: Toro Rosso Sunday quotes

United States GP: Toro Rosso Sunday quotes
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Fernando Alonso
Author Jonathan Noble
Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish” Plus

Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish”

We’ve seen five distinct versions of Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes as he’s tried to fulfil his own ambitions while being a consummate team player – two difficult, competing missions which have been challenging to reconcile. Speaking exclusively to STUART CODLING, Bottas explains his highs and lows… and why he still believes he can be world champion

Does Aston have a case in F1 2021’s big technical row? Plus

Does Aston have a case in F1 2021’s big technical row?

Aston Martin claims Formula 1’s latest technical tweaks have cost it competitiveness – and that it’s the innocent victim of a regulatory stitch-up aimed at pegging back Mercedes. But is any of this actually true? It depends on who you ask, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
May 14, 2021
How long can F1 2021's brewing title battle stay clean? Plus

How long can F1 2021's brewing title battle stay clean?

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have been evenly matched so far in the 2021 Formula 1 title race. Neither has been afraid to get aggressive against each other on track, teeing up an enthralling contest as the year unwinds. But is their rivalry destined to end in broken shards of carbon fibre?

Formula 1
May 13, 2021
What the Spain result tells F1 about the next phase of the Mercedes/Red Bull title fight Plus

What the Spain result tells F1 about the next phase of the Mercedes/Red Bull title fight

OPINION: Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have recovered from their pre-season woes to take three wins from the opening four races of 2021. But each time Red Bull and Max Verstappen have pushed them hard. So, what clues did the latest round of that battle – the Spanish Grand Prix – tease about the next stage of the season?

Formula 1
May 12, 2021
How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner Plus

How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner

The Brabham BT46B raced once, won once, then vanished – or did it? STUART CODLING reveals the story of the car which was never actually banned…

Formula 1
May 11, 2021
The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle Plus

The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle

Formula 1’s visits to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over recent years have been met with familiar criticisms despite tweaks here and there to the track to improve racing. With the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix largely going the same way, proper solutions need to be followed to achieve F1’s wider targets

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Often described as Formula 1's laboratory, the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona gave the clearest demonstration yet of the pecking order in 2021. And it's the key discrepancies from that order which illuminate who is excelling, and who needs to hit the reset button

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
How Red Bull’s deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain Plus

How Red Bull’s deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain

An aggressive first corner move from Max Verstappen appeared to have set the Red Bull driver on course for victory in the Spanish Grand Prix. But canny strategy from Mercedes - combined with the absence of Red Bull's number two from the lead group - allowed Lewis Hamilton to pull off a demoralising reversal

Formula 1
May 10, 2021