Fernando Alonso has dedicated his third place finish in Singapore – Renault's first podium finish of the season – to disgraced former team boss Flavio Briatore.
Briatore was handed an indefinite ban from F1 for his role in the race-fixing scandal that surrounded the inaugural race under lights in Singapore last season – where Nelson Piquet Jr was ordered to crash his car deliberately to aid Alonso in his fight for victory.
The second Singapore race marked the first event for Renault following the departure of both Briatore and Pat Symonds from their roles within the team, and Alonso ensured there was reason to cheers as he picked up a first podium of the season for the regie
The Spaniard's run to the podium came after he survived a frenetic opening lap to the race and he admitted that a podium was more than the team had expected prior to the start
“The result is great for us,” he said. “The first lap was a little bit stressful arriving to turn seven side-by-side with Mark. We both ran wide and over the kerb and then Timo took the benefit there and overtook me into turn eight. Because of the battle with Webber I think I lost the position with Timo and I think we finished the race behind him, but no real complaints. To be fair it is fantastic for us. We did not have the pace all weekend to be on the podium and we have the podium, so much better than we expected.”
Alonso took time to praise the team for the way in which it had battled to the result, although it remains to be seen how the Spaniard dedicating his victory to Briatore will go down with Renault management.
“The team have been fantastic,” he said. “All season I think we have had a fantastic team. The mechanics, engineers, everybody in the factory, did their maximum. Sometimes we did get some good results, sometimes we have been a little bit unlucky. But finally this podium in this particular moment after what happened from Monza to here with the team. It has been a difficult time for the team. Now we put that behind us and we concentrate on the remaining races. I dedicate this podium to Flavio at home as he is part of the success we had today.”
While Alonso enjoyed his best result of the season, Singapore ended in disappointment for team-mate Romain Grosjean, who suffered again with brake issues and was forced to quit after just four laps.
“It was a disappointing weekend for me,” he said. “The car just wasn't right and we had recurring brake problems which we hoped we had solved before the race. I had a good start and a good first lap when I felt my brakes failing and so the team asked me to retire. It's too bad because I was comfortable and enjoying this track and racing at night. Now we will have to work hard and get the car back in order for Japan next week.”