Fernando Alonso finished on the podium for the first time in seven years

The Qatar Grand Prix, which took place over the weekend, generated a slew of headlines. The fact that it was the Qatar Grand Prix, the first time a Formula One race had been held at the Losail International Circuit, was significant.

After that, there was the outcome. With pole position and a dominant win, Lewis Hamilton took the championship lead from Max Verstappen, who finished second after overcoming a five-place grid penalty that had been imposed after qualifying. Hamilton's title rival and current championship leader, Sebastian Vettel, finished third. Max has an eight-point lead over Lewis with two races remaining on the calendar.

However, it is possible that Fernando Alonso, the man who finished third on the podium, is the most important story of the weekend. Following Verstappen's relegation, he qualified third and finished third as a result.

Believe it or not, this is his first podium since July 2014, and he deserves it. Furthermore, it was his 98th race of his career, following an absence of 104 races during which his best finish was a fourth place finish.

"It felt fantastic today, and it felt even better to be back on the podium," Fernando said after the event. We deserved this result as a team, and it's been seven years since I've experienced something similar. Hopefully, we won't have to wait quite as long next time!

In pursuing the one-stop strategy, we took some risks that paid off in the long run. I really enjoy this track, and the car performed flawlessly throughout the weekend, so I can't wait to return. As well as that, there was a lot of action and overtakes, which was something we weren't sure would happen until later in the weekend. We had a great weekend overall, and we scored a lot of points in the Constructors' Championship, which gives us a significant lead over Alpha Tauri going into the final two races."

Indeed, Alpine are in fifth place with a 25-point lead, thanks in part to Alonso's teammate Esteban Ocon's fifth-place finish in Qatar in the previous round.

"I would like to express my heartfelt congratulations to Fernando on his podium finish," Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi said. "It's his first goal since rejoining the team, and I have to say, after the season he's had, he's earned it wholeheartedly.

"We were well aware that a significant opportunity would present itself today due to the pre-race grid penalties imposed on some of the cars in our vicinity, which propelled us into a strong starting position." From there, it was up to him behind the wheel to navigate himself into contention, for the team to execute the right strategy by making the right calls at the right time, and for the pit crew to deliver the perfect pit-stop to keep him in contention. Every element came together perfectly, and the end result was well-deserving of the effort: our second podium appearance this season."

Are you happy for 'Nando?

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