Fernando Alonso again finds a way to finish in the points

(AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

By TALES AZZONI

AP Sports Writer

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) It was another rough start for Fernando Alonso, and again another points-finish for the two-time world champion.

Alonso needed to come from behind at the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday to earn a top 10 finish for the fifth straight time this season.

Two weeks ago the Spaniard had to make his way back after a first-lap incident to finish seventh in Azerbaijan.

Alonso started eighth in Spain but was forced wide by countryman Carlos Sainz of Renault on Turn 2, falling back and seeing his hopes of keeping his point-scoring streak alive diminish.

"We started on the supersoft tires so the plan was to gain some positions in the first couple of laps and then stop very early to change tires," Alonso said. "Instead, we found ourselves losing several positions in the first lap, so at that point I thought it was impossible to get any points today. But luckily we had a good race, we had a good strategy with a good call for only one stop and we took those four points."

Alonso made two impressive overtaking maneuvers at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, one against Esteban Ocon on the outside of Turn 3 and another over Charles Leclerc at the end of the front-straight.

"It was difficult to overtake today, I was behind Leclerc for a long time, as we are still lacking some straight-line speed to be able to pass," Alonso said. "This is something we're working on. We know where our car's weaknesses lie and hopefully we'll find a solution quite soon."

Alonso, who was fifth in the season-opener in Australia and finished seventh in the next three races, said he was hoping for some rain to improve his chances of finishing higher in his home race.

"I was concentrating more on the sky than the cheering grandstands, as in some corners there were very dark clouds," he said. "I thought maybe some rain could have helped us, but unfortunately it didn't come in the end."

The result dropped Alonso from sixth to seventh in the drivers' standings.

This weekend marked the fifth anniversary of Alonso's last F1 victory, which came in Barcelona with Ferrari.

Sainz, the other local driver on the grid, followed his fifth-place finish in Azerbaijan with a seventh place on Sunday, moving to 10th overall.

"We can be very proud of what we've achieved this weekend as this track was not ideal for us," Sainz said. "We have areas to work on, but we are making good progress. Let's keep pushing."

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Updated May 13, 2018

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