Motorsport 12 months ago

F1 Gutsy drive nets Alonso 7th place from rear of grid

McLaren-Honda picked up eight points after getting both cars home inside the top 10 of Sunday afternoon’s Malaysian Grand Prix.

Fernando Alonso drove a sensational race from 22nd on the grid due to grid penalties, to cross the line in a superb seventh place at the flag.

While the Virtual Safety Car dropped a free pitstop into his lap, he drove with verve and flair both before and after to carve through the field. By the end of lap one, he was running in 14th, and was barely out of the top 10 for the remainder of the afternoon.

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“It was definitely a very exiting race for us, with some great battles,” he said. “Having started from the very back, we recovered some good places at the start – and were lucky not to get caught up in the first-corner accident. I was actually surprised by my position, because I’d already got into the points after just a bunch of laps.”

“At that point, we had some debate over the radio about the strategy – about whether to be aggressive or more conservative. Eventually, we decided to attack and use all the new sets of Option tyres we had left over from qualifying. The final Virtual Safety Car certainly played in our favour, because it allowed us to use the last new set.”

“After this weekend’s penalties, we needed some luck – and we got that today!”

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