Alonso satisfied to claim Red Bull Ring points with Alpine that was ‘not a top 10’ car
Fernando Alonso led the way for Alpine at the Styrian Grand Prix, qualifying P8 before finishing ninth at the flag for his third straight points finish. And the result was all the more impressive given that his Alpine A521, in Alonso’s words, was not "top 10" material.
Alonso and Alpine team mate Esteban Ocon enjoyed markedly different qualifying sessions at the Red Bull Ring, Ocon dropping out in Q1, as Alonso made it all the way through to Q3 before taking eighth on the grid (once a penalty had been applied to AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda).
But Alonso admitted he was lucky to be a beneficiary of Lap 1 contact between Charles Leclerc and Pierre Gasly as he eventually came home P9 (with Ocon finishing P14), Alonso having been powerless to hold off the faster Ferraris of Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.
“It was challenging obviously,” said Alonso. “I think we are maybe not as good as a top 10 finisher, so we got lucky at the beginning with Gasly and Leclerc colliding, and then we tried to hold the position, but with the two Ferraris, we could not stop them and that was unfortunate for us.
“But Q3 yesterday, top 10 today, some points – not the best weekend but I think it’s challenging for our package this circuit,” added Alonso, whose team, in their previous Renault guise, scored just eight points at the track between 2016 and 2020. “Unfortunately we race two times here, so we need to find something for next weekend. But we have some ideas and I’m sure we will use the next two weekends to improve our car.”
Meanwhile, Alonso also suffered an unfortunate moment at one point when letting through race leader and eventual winner Max Verstappen, with the blue flags allowing rival Sainz to slip past him as well. But according to Alonso, Sainz’s opportunism had simply prevented him being passed by his compatriot a lap or two later.
“It was frustrating at the time when you lose the position because you have blue flags,” said Alonso. “But I think Carlos would have overtaken us one lap later or two laps later because the pace was much faster than us. I don’t think that changed anything in our race.”
Alonso’s result at the Styrian Grand Prix saw him maintain his P11 in the drivers’ standings on 19 points, having scored in five out of eight Grands Prix so far this year.