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GP Week : Issue 140
Alonso turns poor start into podium DESPITE one of his worst starts of the season, Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso celebrated the inaugural Indian Grand Prix with a podium finish. Alonso was passed through Turn 1 by Jenson Button, who eventually finished Sunday’s race in P2. Red Bull’s Mark Webber stayed ahead of the Ferrari driver for the first stint of the race, but the Australian lost position in the second round of pit stops. Webber and Alonso pitted together at the end of lap 16, and on returning to the track were split by the Mercedes of Michael Schumacher. Alonso passed the German driver within two laps, and spent the next 20 chasing down the Red Bull. When Webber pitted for the harder tyre on lap 38, and started setting quick sector times, Ferrari brought Alonso in for his own set of fresh rubber. Their timing was perfect – Alonso returned to the track in P3, and held position for the duration of the race. “ We didn’t make a perfect start today,” Alonso admitted after the race. “ To be at a very new circuit and starting on the clean side, we didn’t have the grip that we expected. I think the other side of the grid started quicker than us, so we lost a couple of positions there. “ Then with Mark at the second pit stop he decided to stop and then we did two extra laps and we were able to overtake him. So I’m extremely happy to be on the podium to be on the podium in the first race here in India, to taste the champagne is always nice in the first race in a new country.” Michael’s run of form continues F1 INDIA >> 35