Alonso explains 'scary' US GP crash with Stroll before being handed penalty that dropped him out of points
Fernando Alonso admits he was "amazed" that he was able to continue racing after his “scary” collision with Lance Stroll which saw him briefly air bound in his Alpine.
Starting in 14th – after taking a five-place grid penalty for exceeding his allocation of engine components – Alonso made a steady start on the hard tyre, making it up to seventh in the first stint before a Safety Car – caused by Valtteri Bottas’ spinning onto the gravel – allowed him to get a cheap pit stop.
The Spaniard came out in ninth place, overtaking Pierre Gasly at the restart, before attempting to go past Lance Stroll for P7. However, the two came together resulting in Stroll – who has been handed a three-place grid penalty in Mexico for the incident – retiring from the race while Alonso, much to his surprise, was able to continue, despite his car rearing up into the air and then hitting the barriers.
READ MORE: 6 Winners and 5 Losers from the United States Grand Prix - Who got the crowd on their feet in Austin?
“It was quite hard,” said Alonso when asked about the impact of the collision. “Five minutes ago, I was fine, now I have a little bit of pain, so I have to wait until tomorrow probably to really see. The car is very strong again, whoever has a problem with Alpine normally has everything to lose.
“It was scary in the car because when you are up in the air anything can happen. If you catch the fence on the left, the metallic one, you can see IndyCar sometimes they do the 360 quite dangerous. So, I thought that I will end up on the left or more on the left.”
READ MORE: ‘I will miss these moments’ says Vettel after last-lap Magnussen pass earns him P7 in Austin
He added: “When I saw that I landed on track, I said okay, I will retire the car now, that’s it for today but no, changed tyres, front wing, go. We have a very strong car and we changed tyres, front wing and we kept going.”
Alonso came into the pit lane after the incident, making the switch to another set of the hard tyre and returned to the track in 17th. He then proceeded to make his way through the field, as he overtook Kevin Magnussen to get back up to seventh place once again.
"I was amazed that the car managed to complete the 31 laps until the end, and we still finished in P7 after being in P17, so it was a good race,” said Alonso. “It’s incredible that we were able to make the tyres last on the final stint and despite losing out to Lando [Norris] on the last few laps, we still come away from this race with some good points.”
MONDAY MORNING DEBRIEF: Why Verstappen's win owed as much to clever tyre management as raw pace
However, the stewards later handed Alonso a 30-second post-race penalty after his car was deemed to be in unsafe condition due to his right-hand mirror becoming detached from his car as he attempted to overtake Magnussen. This dropped the Spaniard out of the points, as he was classified as finishing in 15th.
Though that may not be the end of the story as on Monday night it was announced that both Alpine and Haas were set to meet the stewards on Thursday, after Alpine protested their original ruling.
Nethertheless Alonso and Alpine head to Mexico still in fourth position in the championship but their lead to McLaren has been reduced to just six points, pending that decision by the stewards.