Alonso says Alpine 'execution' deserved Russian GP podium


Fernando Alonso delivered another solid bag of points to Alpine in the Russian Grand Prix but rued the late rain shower that disrupted the race, insisting his driving and his team's flawless execution were worthy of a podium in Sochi.

After launching his race from P6, Alonso lost a few spots in the opening laps of Sunday's race before moving back up the harder while banking on a long first sting on the hard compound tyre.

The Spaniard had progressed all the way up into second place after 35 laps when he switched to the medium rubber for his planned final stint.

As the race entered its closing stages, Alonso overhauled on the road Daniel Ricciardo and Sergio Perez to push himself up to third. But as the rain set in and conditions worsened, the Alpine charger had no other choice but to follow his rivals and pit for a set of intermediates.

The final few laps left Alonso P6 in the running order and ruing his lack of luck.

"I think we should be on the podium today in terms of executing the race and driving," said the two-time world champion who felt that he had been as unlucky as long-lasting race leader Lando Norris.

"We were in front of Verstappen, we were pulling away from him, we were in front of Sainz. Norris did an amazing race. And just by luck, he’s not on the podium or his first ever win in Formula 1.

"When it rains it’s just a very lucky factor. And I’m sad because when we are not competitive and we are P11 or P12, it never rains so we never get lucky. And today we are P3, today it just rained.

"So not sad but definitely we are not very lucky."

Alonso, who scored in Russia his eleventh top-ten finish of the season, nevertheless took solace from the fact that every point Alpine has scored this year was "on merit and deserved".

"We never had any presents," he said. "We never had any gifts, today or this year. So I am proud of every point that I took this year."

Assessing Alpine's season year-to-date, the 40-year-old F1 veteran underlined how the French outfit is extracting the most from its A521 contender to achieve some remarkable results.

"Some weekends we look a little bit less competitive, like Monza, both cars in the points," he said. "Some weekends we look more competitive like Zandvoort or here in Sochi and we finish top six.

"We could have even finished today on the podium. So there is something that we are doing good on the weekends and on Sundays, especially to score so many points with sometimes not the fastest car out there.

"So I’m very proud of the team, of the progress. We are working towards a very strong team and looking for next year hopefully the package is competitive out of the factory, but the team here at the race weekend is ready to fight."

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