Fernando Alonso is anything but gutted in the aftermath of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix!
Frankly speaking, two races and that too, at the start of a new F1 season, are nowhere sufficient to draw assessments about a driver or his team’s form. But this is Formula 1. The show runs on assessments. It works on close observations. And even at the end of disappointing race weekend that may yield a DNF, there are patterns to note and feedback to offer. In that regard, the lion of the grid- Fernando Alonso has spoken.
This is when we are staring at just the third race of the season, the soon-to-be-held Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne.
A strong race for Fernando Alonso at Bahrain
Now even as his recent Formula 1 Grand Prix, i.e., the Jeddah-bound Saudi GP didn’t yield a single point and, as a matter of fact, resulted in an unexpected DNF, Fernando Alonso is anything but disappointed. His teammate, Esteban Ocon managed a sixth at the same event and held the upperhand over a tense battle with Lando Norris in a McLaren (whom Ocon beat by nearly a thousandth of a second). Alonso, meanwhile, walked away with a forgettable P16, awarded as a result of him having completed over fifty percent of the race.
But if the season opening Bahrain Grand Prix was any indication of the potency of the Alpine 2022 F1 car, then it helps to know that both Alpine drivers finished in points, Ocon’s P7 and El Nino‘s P9 garnering eight points in the end.
Perhaps that is one of the reasons why Fernando Alonso is of the view that the machine he has been paired with is nowhere near to being a slouch on the grid.
Fernando Alonso not doubting the Alpine pace
Surely, a different tyre strategy coupled with the unforeseen engine issues may even have helped Alonso gather better results than he did at Bahrain, but the eventuality of the contest did little to dissuade the veteran driver’s confidence.
But when asked if he was left frustrated in that the experienced hand at F1 gathered no points from the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Fernando Alonso had the following to share:
“I think I had two great races. One in Bahrain, but unfortunately with the wrong strategy maybe with the starting tyre, starting on a scrubbed and then that compromised my whole race, and with an engine also that was not great in Bahrain. And now here I think I was very fast in qualifying, very unlucky, because some other people didn’t have new tyres in Q3, and the scrubbed set was the fastest unfortunately!”
The car much better than what results indicate
Of the view that the overall race pace of his Alpine is much better than what the results indicate, Alonso even offered optimism given the two drives he’s had thus far and remains hopeful to perform a lot better, alluding to the reliability of the A522.
He’d exclaim, “The pace seems a little bit better than what the results say. And we gifted some points to the people behind us. It’s a long way, luck will turn around, and hopefully we will receive some of these gifts in the future. I’m happy with the performance, but as I said we lost points. I think I could be P6 or P7 in the championship to be honest!”
While it’s a bit early to speculate whether what one of the true greats of the sport has to say about the performance of the car, it would also be a fool’s errand to make lightwork of the battle he was himself involved in at the dramatic Jeddah race, wherein Alonso’s close battle with Ocon gave fans the mouthwatering treat fans truly seek in F1: a close, wheel-to-wheel battle.
Just wonder where might Alonso have finished had the race had the sudden power issue not plagued his Alpine? After all, the Spanish knight was on sixth at that moment when he was forced to retire his car.