Alonso: Second place “a nice surprise” for Ferrari

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Fernando Alonso has claimed his second podium finish of the season in Hungary today following a sensational display of tire management and defensive driving.

The Spaniard started the race from fifth place on the grid, and led for large parts by virtue of his strategy. However, he was required to make his option tires last for far longer than feasibly possible, and ultimately had to yield to eventual winner Daniel Ricciardo in the final few laps of the race.

Nevertheless, he did manage to hold back Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton following the Briton’s charge from the pit lane to third place behind the Ferrari driver.

“I am extremely satisfied,” Alonso said on the podium after the race. “It has been a tough weekend and season in general, so it is a nice surprise.

“We took a gamble and a risk today, trying to get the victory. We went close but as I said I am extremely proud of the team and the job we did today. Very, very happy.”

Alonso has traditionally run well at the Hungaroring, claiming his maiden grand prix victory at the circuit back in 2003. With the poor pace of the F14 T making life more difficult in 2014, he said how races such as the one we saw today – featuring a rain shower and two safety car periods – are Ferrari’s only hope of securing big points.

“Today we had a combination of things that make the race difficult to execute and understand,” he explained. “We took the opportunities and [used] our experience, we need some crazy races to get some podiums this year and today we took the opportunity.”

With this result, Ferrari has moved back above Williams into third place in the constructors’ championship, as the British team could only bring its cars home in fifth and eighth place. Kimi Raikkonen kept quiet, but did finish the race in sixth place: his best result since re-joining the Italian marque at the beginning of the year.

Have a decent tax refund coming? Buy Ayrton Senna’s 1993 Monaco-winning car

Photos courtesy Bonhams
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Are you expecting a better than normal tax refund? Did you get a very nice bonus from your company due to the new tax cut?

Well, if you have a good chunk of change hanging around and potentially can be in Monaco on May 11, you can have a chance to bid on the 1993 McLaren-Ford MP4/8A that the late Ayrton Senna drove in — and won — that year’s Monaco Grand Prix.

We’re not just talking about any race winner. It’s also the same car Senna won his sixth Monaco Grand Prix, and the chassis bears the number six.

It’s also the same car Senna piloted to that season’s F1 championship (his third and final title before sadly being killed the next year) and is the first McLaren driven by Senna that’s ever been sold or put up for auction.

The famed Bonhams auction house is overseeing the sale of the car.

“Any Grand Prix-winning car is important, but to have the golden combination of both Senna and Monaco is a seriously rare privilege indeed,” Bonhams global head of motorsport, Mark Osborne, told The Robb Report.

“Senna and Monaco are historically intertwined, and this car represents the culmination of his achievements at the Monegasque track. This is one of the most significant Grand Prix cars ever to appear at auction, and is certainly the most significant Grand Prix car to be offered since the Fangio Mercedes-Benz W196R, which sold for a world record at auction.”

How much might you need? You might want to get a couple of friends to throw in a few bucks as well.

“We expect the car to achieve a considerable seven-figure sum,” Osborne said.

The London newspaper “The Telegraph” predicts the car will sell in the $6.1 million range.”

“This car will set the world record for a Senna car at auction,” Osborne said. “We are as certain as you can be in the auction world.”

While you won’t be able to take the car for a test drive before the auction, it’ll be ready to roar once you pay the price.

“In theory, the buyer could be racing immediately upon receipt of the cleared funds after the auction,” Osborne said. “All systems are primed and ready.”