RACE DEBRIEF

    A tough weekend for Fernando Alonso went from bad to worse in Jeddah, as red flags and a spin compounded a race that was in complete contrast to Alpine team mate Estaban Ocon’s.

    Fresh from the first podium of his F1 comeback in Qatar, Alonso dropped out of qualifying in Q2 and had to start 13th after struggling with the car balance on Saturday, and he was wary of that also affecting his race pace. Starting on medium tyres, the early Safety Car appeared to be a stroke of fortune as Alonso quickly stopped for hards and looked in the mix for points. But then barrier repairs changed everything.

    READ MORE: Ocon distraught after Bottas denies him Saudi podium – but warns that Alpine becoming ‘dangerous’ for rivals

    “It was a bad Sunday,” Alonso said. “We were on the back foot already from the red flag, we were unlucky with the red flag. We opted to stop in the first Safety Car, on Lap 9, and that put us in a good position because not everybody stopped at that time. Then they decided to put the red flag out and then we were P15 and on the same strategy as everyone else, or at least those around us.

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    In contrast to Qatar, Alonso leaves Jeddah frustrated after a difficult race

    “That was pretty much the end of our evening, but nevertheless we need to do better in Abu Dhabi. The pace the whole weekend was not good enough.

    “I think before the red flag [we were in contention], because we were around P13 but in real positions we were like P5, only behind the other people that had already stopped. Maybe some points were available, but the pace seemed quite slow, so, a bad Sunday.”

    READ MORE: How a pair of crashes provided the ‘sliding doors’ moments in an electrifying Saudi Arabian GP

    2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix: Alonso spins after losing rear at Jeddah

    A late spin at Turn 9, meanwhile, saw Alonso just avoid the wall, summing up a difficult weekend in Saudi Arabia.

    “I think I lost the rear, I was very close to [Kimi] Raikkonen in front and I lost the rear. Overall a bad Sunday. A bad Sunday in all the aspects – the race pace, the speed, bad luck in strategy – so a day to forget, and reset.”

    WATCH RACE HIGHLIGHTS: Catch up on a frantic first ever Saudi Arabian Grand Prix