Formula 1

Alonso Makes Podium Return But Loses Championship Lead

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Fernando Alonso lost the lead of the championship at Korea. It was a position that he’d held since he won the European Grand Prix, but a victory by Sebastian Vettel means the German now leads by six points with just four races to go.

It was still an improvement on Suzuka, where Alonso didn’t even managed to complete the first lap. But this time, the Spaniard made a return to the podium and finished third.

“It was a difficult race and, come the end of the weekend, I am happy with the way things went. I was starting from the dirty side of the track, we had doubts over tyre life and what would be the race pace of our rivals. With all these concerns, managing to get to the podium meant I could breathe a big sigh of relief. It’s true that Red Bull was quickest all weekend, but our aim was to be right behind them and we achieved that,” he said.

He also warned that Red Bull should not discount Ferrari in the remaining races.

“Vettel’s three wins in a row? Well, he and Red Bull have had three perfect weekends so congratulations for that, but when everything goes smoothly for so long, inevitably sooner or later something has to happen.”

Felipe Massa, who enjoyed his first podium visit for over a year at Suzuka, also enjoyed another strong race. He followed his team mate home to fourth position and now looks likely to remain his drive at the Italian team for next year.

“After Suzuka, this was another fantastic race for me. I managed to run at a great pace from start to finish. I expected that to a certain extent, because on Friday, I’d seen that over a long run, the car behaved very well,” he explained.

“Towards the end, I closed on Fernando but attacking him was never even up for discussion: I know how important every single point is in the title fight. The whole team is doing its utmost to help Fernando and I am there for him, just as the team is and as it has been for me when I found myself in the same situation.”

“This afternoon’s result was a great team effort and anyone who thinks that losing the lead in the Drivers’ championship might leave us discouraged is making a big mistake,” Stefano Domenicalli added.

“It is equally clear that we must make a step forward in performance to respond to the one made by Red Bull. We are well aware of that and we are working day and night to succeed.”

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