Second place “like a victory” for Alonso

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Fernando Alonso has said that finishing second to Sebastian Vettel in today’s Singapore Grand Prix felt “like a victory” given that the Ferrari F138 car had been off the pace all weekend, with the result minimizing the number of points lost to the defending world champion in the title race.

Having qualified seventh, Alonso made a great start to lie P3 before the safety car came out that allowed Daniel Ricciardo’s stricken Toro Rosso to be recovered. The team took the decision to pit and then try and go to the end of the race on the same set of primes, with the strategy working for Alonso despite it being difficult to manage his tires.

“It was not easy obviously,” Alonso said after the race. “We had a strategy when we pitted under the safety car and we were controlling the pace all through the last stint thanks to the gap that we manage to build.”

Under the safety car, Ferrari opted to pit Alonso whilst Mark Webber, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton all chose not to stop, with the trio all missing out on podium positions as a result. The Spaniard explained how the decision was taken in order to try and secure a place in the top three given the car’s lack of pace.

“We were third which was already a good result for us but when we didn’t see Rosberg pitting in under the safety car we decided to pit and to try something different. We were too slow this weekend, we were not in a level that we should be so we try a little bit different things and it paid off at the end with a fantastic second place.

“Today is like a victory.”

Despite finishing in second place in each of the last three races, Alonso has trailed championship rival Vettel every single time thus allowing the German driver to open up a sixty point lead at the top of the the drivers’ championship. With six races remaining in the 2013 season, it is becoming all-the-more likely that Vettel will be celebrating a fourth successive title come the end of the year.

NHRA: Brittany Force cleared to race this weekend in Phoenix after bad wreck 2 weeks ago

Photo: John Force Racing
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Drag racing is a Force family tradition. So, too, is not keeping a Force family member down.

Just 12 days after the most serious wreck of her six-year drag racing career, Brittany Force and John Force Racing announced late Thursday afternoon that the defending 2017 NHRA Top Fuel champion has been medically cleared and will indeed race in this weekend’s NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix, Arizona.

“I flew into Phoenix early this (Thursday) morning and headed straight out to the race track to meet up with my team,” Force said. “I suited up and got belted back into my car that I ran all last season.

“It honestly felt good to be strapped back in and I was surprised how comfortable I was. I’m looking forward to getting back in my car tomorrow (Friday’s first two rounds of qualifying) and getting back in the swing of things with my guys.”

The 31-year-old Force, one of four daughters of 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force, suffered a concussion and bruising after the hard crash she was involved in on February 11 in the first round of eliminations of the season-opening NHRA Lucas Oil Winternationals in Pomona, California.

Shortly after leaving the starting line in a race vs. Terry Haddock, Force’s dragster crossed from the right to left lanes, impacted the retaining wall with a very hard lateral crash, bounced off, spun, went on its side and briefly caught fire after crossing the finish line wheels-up.

While she is still recovering from the bruising, Force feels strong enough to get back behind the wheel. Getting back in the race car could be the best medicine of all, since she has three runner-up finishes in Phoenix, including back-to-back second-place showings in both the 2016 and 2017 national events.

The three-day event kicks off Friday with qualifying rounds at 4 and 6:30 p.m. ET, the same times as Saturday’s qualifying. Final eliminations begin at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.