Alpine’s Fernando Alonso admits he thought his first Formula 1 podium since his return to the sport was on the cards at the Russian Grand Prix on Sunday.
Alonso started the race on Hard tyres and pitted for Mediums, emerging from the pits in sixth place on lap 36.
With rain falling in the final laps, Alonso moved up to third place as those around him pitted for wet weather tyres, however the intensity of the rain only grew, forcing him back into the pit lane for the Intermediate compound on lap 50, dropping him down to sixth.
Although he missed out on his first F1 podium in over seven years, Alonso states the event was a “very good race” for himself and Alpine.
“I have to be happy with the points, I think it’s a good place for the team, for the Constructors’ points, but I think today we did a very good race,” Alonso said.
“We had an amazing pace, we could keep up with [Sergio] Perez in the first stint, and after the pit stop we even overtook [Max] Verstappen, at one point, so the car was flying today. I think we deserved more.
“When it started to rain, we overtook [Daniel] Ricciardo, Perez and [Carlos] Sainz, and we were P3, so I really thought that the first podium was possible today and on merit, not luck, by pure pace.
“And then it started to rain heavier, some people stopped earlier, some people stopped late, I think Lando [Norris] and myself we lost a lot of places.
“Charles [Leclerc] as well, Perez as well, and some people got very lucky and they’re up there in the podium.”
Despite missing out on a top three result by opting to stay out on slick tyres longer than some of their rivals, Alonso has hailed the weekend as a positive outing for Alpine.
“They [rival drivers] took the gamble, normally you wait on the slicks until the conditions are not anymore suitable for that slick tyre and they changed tyres when it was still OK for slicks,” Alonso said.
“But in the next 20 seconds it started raining very heavily and you cannot predict that intensity of the rain.
“They were struggling with the slick tyres, they gambled it was their lucky day. I think we deserved more, but plenty of positives for the team.”
“As I said, the level of competitiveness that we showed today in the race it had not seen it in any other race until now, so we need to try to understand why and keep it forward, for Turkey.”