Fernando Alonso described his weekend in Qatar as “perfect” after securing a place on the podium for the first time since Hungary 2014.
The Spanish driver started from third on the grid after a number of penalties were handed out to Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas for not slowing down for yellow flags during Qualifying on Saturday.
Alonso enjoyed an impeccable start, overtaking the AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly and lifting the Alpine into second – he managed to keep this position until Verstappen made his way through the field from seventh.
Fernando was pushed to fourth by the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez, but when the Mexican driver entered the pits for fresh Pirellis, the two-time world champion thrust the A521 back into the podium places.
By the time the chequered flag was raised, Alonso had held on long enough to bring home his maiden podium for the Alpine F1 Team – marking the 98th of his career.
Speaking after the race, the 40-year-old said; “It felt fantastic today, and to be back on the podium was so good.
“We deserved this result as a team and I’ve had to wait seven years since my last one.
“Hopefully we don’t need to wait this long again! We took some risks with the one-stop strategy but it worked out well.
“We had some strong pace and despite Perez catching us at the end, we did enough to hang on.
“Esteban did a great job in assisting the result and our pitstops were brilliant, so well done to the whole team.
“I love this track and the car felt amazing all weekend, so I can’t wait to come back here.
“There was also quite a lot of action and overtakes, which is something we weren’t sure of at the start of the weekend.
“In the end, it was a perfect weekend for us and we scored lots of points in the Constructors’ Championship, so now we have a good advantage over Alpha Tauri heading into the final two races.”