RACE DEBRIEF

    Alonso drops from P7 to P9 after being hit with five-second time penalty in Montreal

    On a weekend that promised so much, P2-starter Fernando Alonso’s challenging race in Montreal was made worse, after the Alpine driver was given a five-second time penalty after the Grand Prix by the stewards, dropping him from seventh to ninth.

    Alonso was called to the stewards’ room at the end of the race, after he was seen to be weaving on the straight on the penultimate lap of the Grand Prix, as he defended from the charging Alfa Romeo of Valtteri Bottas.

    And after a hearing with both drivers and their team representatives, along with examining video evidence and the telemetry of both drivers, the Spaniard was found to have changed direction more than once while defending a position, the stewards penalising Alonso, dropping him from seventh to ninth.

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    Alonso had started the race in second position after a sensational performance in the wet qualifying session, but fell down to fourth after being overtaken by compatriot Carlos Sainz and the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton. And after a pit stop that dropped him down to P7 and failing to ride his luck under various Virtual and actual Safety Cars, Alonso dealt with an engine problem for the majority of the race which all but ended his hopes of a podium.

    “Yeah, we were unlucky once more with the VSC,” said Alonso. “I was just on the start-finish line when it came and I was just entering the pits when it ended so we decided to stay out, so I was a little bit unlucky there. But the biggest problem was the engine, we had an engine problem in Lap 20 or something like that.

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    Alonso fell from seventh to ninth after changing direction more than once while defending from Valtteri Bottas

    “I was losing, like, one second a lap with the engine deployment, and from that moment we forgot about the podium, or retiring the car, we were just staying on the DRS train with the cars in front just to defend. But it was very difficult to stay with Esteban [Ocon] or Charles [Leclerc] because on the straights we were losing one second.

    “I think this weekend we deserved better than ninth position,” he added, “but it’s still good for both cars to score points in the end. We ultimately lost a big opportunity to fight for a potential podium as I felt like I had the pace to do so.”

    Team mate Esteban Ocon was in a much more upbeat mood after the race, after finishing in P6 – his seventh top-10 finish of the season. And the delighted French driver said his team should be “proud” of their performance in Montreal, believing they maximised their performance.

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    “It’s been an awesome race for us,” said Ocon. “Compared to yesterday, we managed to get the car to work slightly better and that meant a lot because we maximised the potential today and finishing sixth and seventh [before the penalty], with McLaren not scoring, is a big boost for us in the constructors’ championship.

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    “We can be pleased with that. A good start, I managed to overtake at the start and defend Charles mid-race, but he was too quick in the end… It feels good to achieve a weekend like that with some big points that we deserve. It’s been quite a few weekends with outside factors happening but yeah it feels good for that one.”