Alonso says he’s ‘extremely unlucky’ after second DNF of the year leaves him on ‘unfair’ two points
Alpine might have one of the most competitive cars in the midfield this season, but so far they haven’t been able to score as many points as expected, with both drivers able to say bad luck got in the way of their progress in Imola.
While Esteban Ocon spent much of his weekend trying to recover after a gearbox issue derailed his qualifying, for Fernando Alonso, it was a case of wrong place, wrong time in the Grand Prix.
Having qualified fifth, Alonso came home ninth in the Sprint and thus started the Grand Prix alongside Mick Schumacher’s Haas. But in the tricky conditions, the German spun after just a couple of corners, catching Alonso’s sidepod with his rear wheel – with the bodywork eventually ripping off on the main straight, exposing the innards of his A522.
“I saw on the replay that Mick spun unfortunately and touched my car and destroyed completely the righthand side of my bodywork and floor, and there was too much damage to keep racing,” Alonso said afterwards, disappointed to have been unable to fully assess the new upgraded floor he was running as a result of his early DNF.
“Another time it’s out of our control that we lost another race. We are extremely unlucky in this first part of the championship but there’s still a long way to go. Hopefully we can recover.”
Despite being quick on paper in Australia, there the Spaniard’s race was compromised by a hydraulics issue in qualifying when he felt he had had the pace for the front row. Add in more bad luck in Imola, and it's easy to see why frustration was creeping in when he assessed the season so far, having not scored since Bahrain...
“The car seems quite fast this year and yeah, it is unbelievable that we have only two points in the drivers’ championship because I think it’s a little bit unfair at the moment.”
As for his team mate, it was Ocon’s turn to suffer reliability problems in qualifying, meaning he exited in Q1. Although he recovered a few places in the Sprint to start higher up for the race, his afternoon was compromised by a five-second time penalty earned for an unsafe release in the pits, where he came close to collecting the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton.
“In the end it looks worse, the result, because of that penalty. It was the tube from the team [in the next pit box], I think, that made me go left, otherwise I think there would have been room for Lewis on the left. Not an easy situation but we had to take risks to try and get back up and in two days we did catch back up eight positions. It was not enough, but it was not that bad,” said the Frenchman, who at least saw the chequered flag on Sunday in P14.
“For the team it’s a frustrating weekend in general, obviously we have to reset on my side with some new parts on the car and I look forward to seeing what they gives us performance-wise.”