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Alonso dedicates podium to Domenicali

NEWS STORY
20/04/2014

Fernando Alonso, who finished third in today's Chinese Grand Prix, dedicated his podium result to former boss Stefano Domenicali.

Just days after the popular Italian resigned as Team Principal, Alonso, scoring the Maranello outfit's first podium of the year, paid tribute to him.

"After a difficult start to the season, this podium is a confidence boost for the whole team, providing extra motivation for all those who are doing their best to close the gap to the front," said the Spaniard. "And I think this podium should be dedicated to Stefano, as everything we do up to July will also be the result of his efforts.

"We have definitely made a step forward," he continued, "because compared to two weeks ago, we have partly closed the gap to the leaders, but we are well aware there’s still a long way to go and we have to keep our feet on the ground."

It was last Monday, as Red Bull faced the FIA's International Court of Appeal in Paris, that Domenicali announced his decision to step down, though most believe the popular Italian was persuaded to jump before being pushed.

It was clear on Friday, the first day of the Shanghai F1 weekend, that Alonso was saddened by Domenicali's departure, even though he understood the reasoning.

"I think that Stefano was a great man," he told reporters. "I'm a close friend of his, not just on the circuit. We ski together every January in Italy in the mountains. We still have a close relationship. We've been talking all the week long. I think that will continue, because we have known each for many years and we have worked very closely for this couple of years, so that's important, to separate work from friendship.

"As a team principal, I think he made good choices, good things," he added. "Obviously we missed opportunities in 2010, in 2012. They missed opportunities in 2008 with Felipe. If not, he could probably have three championships in his pocket.

"I think he brought in Pat Fry, he brought James Allison, Raikkonen, so I think all the things that people ask from him he was giving to them, probably, as I said, the results in the sports are important and the pressure at Ferrari is also quite big, so he made his decision which we respect and we will try to move forward in different directions but try to move forward. I'm happy with the time that we passed together."

Today's podium finish, albeit having finished 25.6s behind race winner Lewis Hamilton, but only 6.9s behind Nico Rosberg, comes two weeks after the Spaniard came home a disappointing ninth in Bahrain, just ahead of teammate Kimi Raikkonen, and sees Ferrari move up to fourth in the constructors' standings.

Check out our Sunday gallery, here.

Chris Balfe

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