‘It was one of my best races this season’ – Alonso laments late double stop that cost Alpine ‘fifth and sixth' in Austria
After starting down in 19th on Sunday, Fernando Alonso was able to make an impressive recovery to finish 10th at the Austrian Grand Prix. But the Alpine driver was left dissatisfied after the race, believing that if not for a late pit stop issue, a top-six finish was on the cards.
After his Alpine was fitted with its fifth power unit of the season ahead of Sunday’s Grand Prix, Alonso was forced to start at the back of the grid in P19. However, the Spaniard made an impressive recovery, climbing to sixth at the end of his second stint.
But after coming in on Lap 58 for a set of medium tyres, Alonso was forced to pit again on the next lap due to “vibrations” on the first set, dropping him down to 14th. And after recovering (again) to 10th, Alonso admitted that he was disappointed to miss out on a top-six finish, declaring Austria to have been one of his “best races this season”.
READ MORE: Bottas laments 'lack of pace' in Austria after losing P10 on final lap to Alonso
“A point is better than nothing, even more so knowing that we started from the last row today,” said Alonso. “I think it was one of my best races this season, apart from Silverstone last weekend. We were fighting for a sixth or seventh position, but I felt strange vibrations on the tyres that we had just [fitted] after our second stop under the Virtual Safety Car period.
“As [the VSC was still in force], we decided to stop again to put on a new set of tyres. Unfortunately, we lost a few positions with this extra stop, and we had to fight until the last laps. At the finish, we managed to finish in 10th position. So, instead of fifth and sixth today, we are fifth and 10th, so it hurts a little bit now.”
Alpine had showed tremendous pace throughout the weekend but were again hampered by reliability issues when Alonso – starting in P8 for the Sprint – failed to take the start due to an electronics issue. And Alonso believes Alpine could be happy with their performance in Austria, but not the end result.
READ MORE: Ocon hails 'perfect weekend' for Alpine after fifth place finish at Austrian GP
“This weekend we were flying,” said Alonso. “So yeah, I’m happy that we took some points with [Esteban Ocon] at least. Let’s see in the next couple of races if we can score with both cars and fight McLaren for the top four in the championship. It was very good race in terms of pace, I felt much faster than the cars around, which is always a good sign.
“But at the end I was fighting for P6 when we stopped, so that was the target; I was just behind Lando [Norris] with a fresh set of tyres so that would have been easy. To score a single point on this race is a bit of a shame, but we can be very happy with our overall pace and performance as a team.”
Alpine’s strong Austrian Grand Prix showing allowed them to draw level on points with McLaren in the fight for P4 in the standings.