Spanish F1 driver Alonso takes podium place in Qatar after seven years

by Lorraine Williamson
F1 driver Alonso - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fernando-alonso2021_1617620146.jpg
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SPORT – Sunday was a dream day for F1 driver Fernando Alonso from Spain. In Qatar, the Spaniard was on the podium alongside Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen. Alonso spoke after the race: “With all due respect to the other drivers, but I really deserved this place myself.” 

A lot had happened before the drivers could start; Max Verstappen and Valteri Bottas both received a grid penalty for ignoring a yellow flag during qualifying. Alonso initially qualified fifth, but thanks to the penalties for Verstappen and Bottas he was allowed to start from P3. 

Fernando Alonso races with only one tire change 

Alonso kept up a fast pace and was able to postpone his pit stop so that he only needed one tire change to finish the race. Since Hamilton and Verstappen opted for two and three stops respectively, Alonso even had hopes of overtaking them. Unfortunately for the Spaniard, they turned out to be much too fast and this was not a realistic scenario. 

According to Alpine F1 director Marcin Budkowski, his third place was hanging by a thread on Sunday. Several drivers suffered from flat tires because they continued to drive on the same tires for a little too long. According to Budkowski, it was “a matter of a few corners” whether Alonso’s left front tire would hold up. 

F1 career of Fernando Alonso from Asturias 

Anyway, Alonso is very happy that he managed to finish on the podium after a long time. Fernando Alonso is from Oviedo (Asturias), is now 40 years old, has been racing since 2001, and became World Champion for Team Renault in 2005 and 2006. With his third place, he was back on the podium behind Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen on Sunday after seven years and 105 races. In total, Alonso has been on the podium 98 times in his career as an F1 driver. 

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Spanish Alonso very happy and proud 

Alonso told Sky News after the race: “With all due respect to the other drivers; standing here with Max and Lewis means we’ve had a more or less normal race. By that I mean to say that nothing crazy happened that got me on stage now. I really deserved this place.” 

Although Alonso’s victory last Sunday can be called very good, there is actually no chance for the Spaniard in the final standings to get a podium place. After his third place on Sunday, he is tenth in the standings with 77 points. 

Who will be world champion? 

The F1 season has two more races, the penultimate of which is scheduled for December 5 in Saudi Arabia. Who will eventually walk away with the world title – a battle that will probably be fought between Verstappen and Hamilton – will be announced after the last race in Abu Dhabi on December 12. The Dutchman is currently 8 points ahead of former world champion UK´s Lewis Hamilton. 

Around 200 points adrift of the top is 5th place Lando Norris from the UK.  Carlos Sainz and Fernando Alonso of Spain sit in 7th and 10th positions respectively.

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