Fernando Alonso celebrated his thirty-seventh birthday by taking home four points after finishing eighth in the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday, with his long first stint seeing him jump up the order having started outside the top ten.
The McLaren F1 Team racer found himself ahead of both Carlos Sainz Jr. and Romain Grosjean, as well as Brendon Hartley, thanks to his extended opening stint, with his rivals losing time behind Esteban Ocon having made their own pit stops.
Alonso praised his team in the pit lane for giving him the perfect strategy to gain positions, although he was disappointed to see team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne retire from a strong ninth place with a gearbox failure as the team looked as they though were heading into the summer break with a two-car points finish.
“It was definitely a good Sunday for us and it was down to the pit-wall, as they executed the perfect strategy,” said Alonso. “They decided to extend the first stint as much as we could, doing something around fifteen laps more than the others, and that meant Stoffel and myself recovered three or four positions.
“We really deserved eighth and ninth places today, but unfortunately the gearbox problem prevented Stoffel from taking any points, otherwise it would’ve been a perfect Sunday for us.”
Alonso will now take stock and relax ahead of the next Grand Prix, which takes place at the end of August at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, but he can head into the summer break with some confidence after his top eight finish at the Hungaroring.
“I’m happy we’ve delivered the result and have scored another four points for the team,” said the Spaniard, who sits ninth in the Drivers’ Championship, one point behind Kevin Magnussen. “Sunday is where it finally counts!
“Now it’s time to relax, before jumping in a car again mid-August.”