Fernando Alonso delighted by Ferrari’s ‘fantastic race’

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Fernando Alonso is delighted with his win at today’s Chinese Grand Prix after a trouble-free race, crossing the checkered flag first with a 10 second gap to second placed Kimi Raikkonen.

“It was a fantastic race for us from the start to the end without any big problems from the car,” he said after the race. “The tire degradation was better than expected so we managed the pace.”

Whilst Raikkonen became embroiled in a strategic battle with Lewis Hamilton, Alonso was able to focus on his own race, and cut 13 points out of Sebastian Vettel’s championship lead. The result sees Ferrari return to form and close on Red Bull in the constructors’ championship, having endured a troublesome race last time out in Malaysia.

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“It feels great after the retirement in Malaysia,” Alonso said. “We had some pressure to finish the race.”

Alonso posted two fastest laps during his final stint, and although his time was bettered by Vettel late on, the Ferrari driver showed strong pace. His team told him over the radio “you do not have to push”, to which Alonso replied “I am not pushing!” despite his purple lap times.

The two-time world champion was keen on building upon the result, and he has high hopes for the rest of the season.

“In the two races we’ve finished we have got second place and victory so our start of the 2013 season is very good. We are very optimistic for the rest of the season.”

Ferrari trail Red Bull by just five points in the constructors’ championshp, with Felipe Massa finishing today’s race in P6.

Recapping the 2018 Dakar Rally with “best of” video highlights

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EDITOR’S NOTE: NBCSN will air additional Dakar Rally highlights on Monday at 7 p.m. ET.

As it has done so for four decades, the 40th annual Dakar Rally – the most grueling test of man and machine anywhere – produced a number of surprise finishes and also several disappointments for drivers or riders who were expected to do well in the nearly 5,600-mile trek that began in Peru and continued through Bolivia and ending in Argentina.

NBCSN has aired highlights from all 14 stages (actually 13, because one stage was completely rained out) during the Rally’s two-week run, which concluded Saturday.

Here’s some of the “best of” highlights from the overall Rally highlights, followed by a quick guide that gives you wrapups to all 14 stages.

So, without further adieu, here’s NBCSN’s “best of” the 2018 Dakar Rally:

2018 Dakar Rally: Best of cars

2018 Dakar Rally: Best of bikes

2018 Dakar Rally: Best of trucks

2018 Dakar Rally: Best of quads

Lastly, here’s a day-by-day wrapup of how the Rally played out.

MORE: Dakar Rally daily stages schedule, NBCSN broadcast schedule, list of all competitors.

MORE: Stage 14 overall Rally wrapup

MORE: Stage 13 wrapup

MORE: Stage 12 wrapup

MORE: Stage 11 wrapup

MORE: Stage 10 wrapup

MORE: Stage 9 cancelled due to weather, impassible course conditions

MORE: Stage 8 wrapup

MORE: Stage 7 wrapup

MORE: Stage 6 wrapup

MORE: Stage 5 wrapup

MORE: Stage 4 wrapup

MORE: Stage 3 wrapup

MORE: Stage 2 wrapup

MORE: Stage 1 wrapup