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Alonso blasts rivals for driving 'over their abilities' – and says it's unfair drivers who crash keep grid places

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Fernando Alonso outqualified team mate Esteban Ocon and made it into Q3 in Azerbaijan for the first time ever, but the Spaniard wasn’t entirely happy on Saturday evening, blaming a ‘messy’ stop-start qualifying session on some of his rivals "driving over the possibilities of their car or their abilities".

Alonso qualified P9 in Baku, but will start P8 after Lando Norris was penalised for a red flag offence – a position he felt could have been even better in a less hectic session.

READ MORE: Verstappen curses ‘stupid’ qualifying in Baku as he loses another chance of pole to red flag

“It was very chaotic, it was a messy qualifying,” he said. “Four red flags… that was difficult to get into the rhythm on the qualifying pace, on the track improvement, on the grip conditions that you get on Saturday. It’s the same for everybody, so you just try to adapt quicker.

“I think there is more potential in the car, but we couldn’t use it because every time we put on a new set of tyres a red flag came out. I think maybe 7th or 8th was possible, but it is what it is.”

2021 Azerbaijan GP Qualifying: Leclerc takes pole position as Tsunoda and Sainz crash

Five drivers ended up in the wall during the session, including Yuki Tsunoda and Carlos Sainz, both of whom will start ahead of Alonso despite crashing at the end of Q3 – much to the two-time world champion’s annoyance.

"[It's] unfair probably that the people that crashed, they repair the car and they start in that position tomorrow.

"All the other cars, we are in parc ferme until tomorrow, we cannot touch the car, so why they can change all the parts that they caused the red flag? Maybe one day we are in that position and we take advantage of the rule.

"I think the people need to calm down a little bit and drive 98% in a street circuit because if you crash and you start last in the race, maybe you don't drive over your possibilities.

Alonso feels red flags made getting rhythm 'difficult' but there is 'more potential' in car

"And I think today with so many people driving over the possibilities of their car or their abilities."

HIGHLIGHTS: All the action from Azerbaijan GP qualifying as Leclerc takes pole and five drivers crash

Alonso could at least content himself with a much stronger showing than in Monaco, where he was left 17th on the grid.

“I was happy with the car from FP1 – I think we were in the top 10 for all the sessions,” he said. “And yeah, compared to Monaco a different car here. I think the team did a very good job from Monaco to here to understand the problems.”

Alonso has twice finished in the points in Baku, and is aiming to break a two-race pointless streak, having last bagged a top 10 in Portugal.

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