Alonso: P5 much better than what we expect

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Fernando Alonso has come away from qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix with his tail up after finishing fifth and ahead of some drivers that he did not expect to beat.

The Spaniard was one of the earliest drivers to post his final time in Q3 on Saturday, meaning that he could not take advantage of the track improving late on, but he does not feel that he could have finished any higher than fifth.

“I always think it’s a fantastic result, P5,” Alonso said. “I don’t think that we could beat the guys in front.

“Probably if we go a little bit later with the track a little bit drier, we could do something, we could recover one-tenth or two-tenths – position four is six-tenths in front of me, so it doesn’t change too much.”

Alonso benefitted from Lewis Hamilton’s engine fire which left the Mercedes driver at the back of the grid, and also Felipe Massa’s failure to put in a later lap time for Williams.

“P5 is much better than what we expect,” he said. “If Hamilton was on track, if Felipe could do another lap, our position maybe would have been a little bit lower than that so we take some opportunities that arrive to us.

“Starting on the clean side, which normally here is very important in Hungary, so I expect a very strong start, hopefully gain some positions, try to be P4 or P3 at the end of the first lap, that will give us a chance.”

The Spaniard claimed his first ever win in Formula 1 at this track back in 2003, and although a repeat result isn’t on the cards, he will be looking to score some good points and continue his streak of top ten finishes, which dates back last year’s Indian Grand Prix.

You can watch the Hungarian Grand Prix live on CNBC and Live Extra from 7:30am ET tomorrow.

FIA returns Manor’s F1 entry fee for 2017

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Good news: Manor Grand Prix Racing Limited got a refund of an entry fee it paid to the FIA to run in this year’s F1 season.

Bad news: Manor still hasn’t run this year, and won’t be for the foreseeable future (especially as Manor’s former leadership staff is moving that team into FIA WEC’s new-look LMP1 class in addition to its LMP2 program).

Manor Group’s receivership outfit, Just Racing Services Limited, went into administration earlier this year. As there was no new buyer for the F1 team, Manor dropped from the 2017 grid before the season.

The FIA said it would return its entry fee to help Manor Group pay off outstanding debts.

It basically means nothing in the grand scheme of things since Manor missed out on 10th place in the constructor’s standings in 2016 and fell from the F1 grid as a result, but hey, it’s a goodwill gesture going into Thanksgiving this week.