Alonso hails Ferrari tactics after second (VIDEO)

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Fernando Alonso praised his Ferrari team for a tactical call that helped him to second place in the Australian Grand Prix.

Alonso was running fourth when race engineer Andrea Stella called him in for an early second pit stop on lap 19 of the 58-lap race.

After returning to the track on fresh tires, Alonso pumped in a quick lap which allowed him to jump ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Felipe Massa, and set him up to pass Adrian Sutil on the track.

“It was a very good decision,” said Alonso after the race.

“There is always the flexibility to anticipate the stop, delay the stop,” he added. “How the race goes is the tire degradation that you are facing through that particular race or the traffic you are facing through that race. In my case we felt we were a lot faster than the cars in front.”

However Alonso admitted that starting his third stint early meant he had to run longer in his final stints which cost him the chance to pass Kimi Raikkonen for the win:

“For that we could not maybe fight with Kimi because it was too early also for three stops, I think lap 21. It was enough to jump three places though, Sebastian, Felipe and Sutil.

“So it was a very good decision at the time but what we didn’t know at the time was the pace of the Lotus. So they did a better job than us and maybe we did a better job than the others in the front.”

Hear more from Alonso in the video above.

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

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Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.