Alpine “ultra competitive” in the best F1 race of the year
Alonso started on hard tires and as others pulled up he climbed to second, behind only Sergio Perez, before making a late first pit stop on the same lap as the Red Bull driver.
The Spaniard was sixth when the rain came towards the end of the race, and finding more grip than some of his rivals, he briefly came back to third.
However, he stayed on the sidelines for too long before moving to intermediates, and any chance of a podium finish was lost as he fell back to a possible sixth place.
“It was a good race for us obviously,” he said. “The best race of the year I have to say in terms of performance. The car was very fast, a good balance throughout the race.
“We kept pace with Checo in the first stint. Then we switched to the medium tire, and we were even able to overtake [Max] Verstappen at one point and walk away from him.
“Then it started to drizzle a bit on the dry tires and we passed Daniel [Ricciardo], Checo and [Carlos] Sainz and we were P3. So I think the podium was possible today on merit, the car was flying. And I was very happy, but unfortunately the rain came with five laps from the end.
“Some people took risks, some people took other risks, and we were unlucky, or the podium [finishers] let’s say we were very lucky today, but under these conditions it’s still a lottery.
When asked if he was sad to lose the podium or happy to have found performance in the car, he replied: “We look ultra competitive so we have to understand if we have done something different here. , try to keep [going] forward for the next races, because the car was very fast, so that was a very positive sign.
“Of course I think we should be on the podium today in terms of race execution and driving. We were in front of Verstappen, we were moving away from him, we were in front of Sainz.
Fernando Alonso, Alpine A521
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
“[Lando] Norris had an amazing race, and luckily he’s not on the podium or his first win in Formula 1. So when it rains it’s just a very lucky factor.
“And I’m sad because when we’re not competitive and we’re P11 or P12, it never rains, so we never have a chance. And today that we are P3, today it has just rained. So not sad. But decidedly, we are not very lucky.
“But every point we’ve got this year is for merit, we’ve never had a freebie this year. So I’m proud of every point I’ve taken this year.
Alpine executive director Marcin Budkowski hailed Alonso’s result as a boost to the constructors’ championship, but added that a podium was there to allow the rider and the team to make the most of the moment. the switch to rain tires.
“We will take sixth place, we will take all eight points, zero for AlphaTauri and Aston Martin,” he told Autosport. “So in the whole championship, we are doing a good operation. But the silverware was on the table.
“It’s tricky in these conditions. It starts to rain, it may rain more or it may start to rain less. It seemed like it was starting to rain less, and Fernando was doing very well on his dry tires in difficult conditions, with light rain, overtaking some cars.
“And the reality is that if the intensity of the rain had been reduced, it would probably have been P2 or P1 if the two [Lewis] Hamilton and Norris had stung. But it would have been a P2.
“The rain has accumulated, we do not understand well, so a little disappointed not to finish on the podium when we thought it was possible.
“But you can’t do it right every time. Some people have understood better than us, and others less than us. “