After venting his frustration in qualifying when a fuel problem dropped him out of the running, Fernando Alonso struggled to conceal his delight on Sunday after storming to victory in the inaugural Singapore Grand Prix.
The Spaniard, who qualified fifteenth and opted for a short first stint, was vaulted into the lead when his team-mate Nelson Piquet crashed into the wall on lap 15, bringing out the safety car.
That forced the rest of the field to pit for fuel once the safety car peeled off, which gifted Alonso the race lead.
Alonso had demonstrated strong race pace all weekend and no problem maintaining his advantage and taking his twentieth grand prix victory and his first in over a year.
“Fantastic,” the double world champion enthused after the race. “First podium of the season and the first victory. I’m extremely happy, I can’t believe it.”
“I think I need a couple of races to realise that we won a race; it seems impossible. Here we’ve been competitive, we had bad luck in qualifying, but great luck in the race. The safety car helped me a lot and I was able to win the race.”
“We chose to do a very short first stint, recognising that in fifteenth place you can’t overtake.”
“So we tried something very different: very short first sting and try to make as many positions at the start, and we would see from there. It was very lucky. The pace was there all through the race and we were always able to pull out a gap to the cars behind us.”