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Fernando Alonso says third is like a victory

Published on Nov 19, 2012 7:11 AM

AUSTIN, Texas (AFP) - Fernando Alonso said finishing third in Sunday's United States (US) Grand Prix was, for him, as good as a win after he had qualified only ninth for Ferrari on Saturday.

He was soon after elevated to eighth because of a gearbox-change penalty for Frenchman Romain Grosjean of Lotus and, on Sunday, advanced another position - and to the clean right side of the grid - when his team decided to incur a penalty for Brazilian Felipe Massa by breaking the seal on his car's gearbox.

It was a pragmatic strategic decision to give the two-time champion Spaniard a better chance at the start of the race and he grabbed it when the lights went out.

"We know that our championship is alive thanks to the first laps," said Alonso.

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