Fighting Alonso pleased with result

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He may have missed out on the race win, but Fernando Alonso was still delighted with his performance in the Australian Grand Prix, finishing in second place.

“It was a fantastic race for us, fighting all through the race.

“I was sad not to be able to win the race, but Kimi was fantastic and we need to congratulate them for a fantastic race.”

Alonso started the race in fifth, but he moved up to third off the start before taking the lead following the second round of stops. However, he gave up this lead to Kimi Raikkonen when he stopped for a third time, and the gap was too great for Alonso to recover.

The result marks Alonso’s best start to a season in three years, and with Felipe Massa finishing fourth, Ferrari appear to be in the running for both championships this season.

“We had a difficult start of season two years ago and last year, too, and this year is very different,” said Alonso.

“We feel much more comfortable, the car is responding well and we have a good season ahead of us.”

Ferrari lead the constructors’ championship by four points following their strong double-score, and they will be hoping to extend this lead at the Malaysian Grand Prix in seven days’ time.

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How Hamilton, Mercedes can clinch F1 titles at the United States GP

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Sunday’s United States Grand Prix could go down as a memorable race in Formula 1 history as both Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes bid to clinch their fourth world championships (live on NBC and NBC Sports app from 2pm ET).

Hamilton gave his chances of wrapping up the drivers’ title and re-claiming the crown he lost to Nico Rosberg in 2016 a world of good by charging to pole position on Saturday at the Circuit of The Americas.

However, with chief rival Sebastian Vettel starting second for Ferrari and a 16-point swing required, it seems likely that the title race could continue to next weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix.

Nevertheless, here are the permutations for Lewis Hamilton to win his fourth F1 world title on Sunday in Austin, Texas.

  • If Lewis Hamilton wins the race (25 points) and Sebastian Vettel finishes sixth or lower (maximum eight points), he is world champion.
  • If Hamilton finishes second (18 points), Sebastian Vettel finishes ninth or lower (maximum two points), and Valtteri Bottas does not win the race, he is world champion.

While Hamilton’s coronation seems likely to be postponed until the next race in Mexico, Mercedes looks nailed-on to wrap up its fourth consecutive constructors’ championship in Sunday’s USGP.

The German marque currently leads Ferrari by 145 points in the teams’ standings, and requires a lead of 129 after the race to clinch the crown.

As a result, a double top-four finish from Hamilton and Bottas would be enough for Mercedes to wrap up the title, regardless of how Ferrari fares.

The success would see Mercedes become just the fourth team in F1 history take four straight constructors’ titles, following Red Bull (2010 to 2013), Ferrari (1999 to 2004) and McLaren (1988 to 1991).

The United States Grand Prix is live on NBC and the NBC Sports app from 2pm ET on Sunday.