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Alonso scores Ferrari’s first podium finish of 2014

Apr 20, 2014, 6:15 AM EDT

F1 Grand Prix of China Getty Images

After a difficult week that saw team principal Stefano Domenicali resign on Monday, Fernando Alonso has brought the Ferrari team some joy by scoring its first podium finish of the season today in China.

The Spanish driver made a great start from fifth place, and was running in second after passing both of the Red Bull drivers and Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg. However, during his final stint, Rosberg managed to close and pass Alonso with relative ease thanks to the superior straight line speed of the Mercedes W05 car. Nevertheless, he was delighted with P3 after such a poor start to the season.

“It was a good weekend,” Alonso said on the podium after the race. “We did improve the car a little bit compared to the first three races, so we felt more competitive.

“Being here on the podium is a nice surprise for us, a nice surprise finally. Yeah, with podium finish today, I’m third in the drivers’ championship behind these two guys [Rosberg and Hamilton]. We didn’t have the start to the season we would have liked, but at the end of the day we’re still in the fight.”

Alonso’s race nearly ended at the first corner after he was tagged by Williams’ Felipe Massa. Despite a big side-swipe, both cars managed to continue, but Alonso was concerned about any possible damage.

“It was a big contact,” he said. “I asked on the radio “can you check the car?” It felt okay but obviously I don’t know from the outside how it looks. It was okay, and we were very lucky to finish the race. Hopefully next time it will be a cleaner start.”

The Spaniard finished over 50 seconds ahead of teammate Kimi Raikkonen, and certainly appears to be more at ease with the F14 T car than he had in the first three rounds of the season.

Ferrari will be hoping for another good result at Alonso’s home race, the Spanish Grand Prix, in three weeks’ time.

  1. redrock81 - Apr 20, 2014 at 6:52 AM

    Great job, Fernando! Was worried after that accident with Massa at the start. Hopefully, this will be the start of Ferrari getting stronger and improving the car.

  2. techmeister1 - Apr 20, 2014 at 7:27 PM

    Alonso drove his normal great race but Ferrari has a lot of work to do. It was nice that Alonso publicly stated that all performance up until July of this year will be a result of the leadership of Domenicali. Whitmarsh didn’t get any credit at McLaren for his hard work however.

  3. worknman24hours - Apr 20, 2014 at 7:38 PM

    Funny how the head guy on the team ‘walking away’ gets the ‘lazy’ out of the other workers.

    I guess some people want to keep their jobs on the team at the end of the year.

    Fernando, what can you say about that guy.

    Ferrari gets their moneys worth every race.

  4. techmeister1 - Apr 21, 2014 at 1:15 PM

    There are NO lazy people on F1 teams. You only get there by being superior in actual performance. Nothing fundamentally changed from last race to this race. This track just better suited the car and the small changes helped a little bit. If Alonso had not of made ground on the first lap he would have probably been 6-8th. Ferrari had a little luck this race and Alonso drove the wheels off as usual.

    Alonso was quick to point out that everything the team does until July is the result of Domenicali’s work and he offered the trophy to Domenicali.

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