Alpine out-scored rivals but ‘silverware was on the table’

Michelle Foster
Fernando Alonso drives in the 2021 Russian GP.

Fernando Alonso leads Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc into Turn 2 at Sochi.

The up side to Alpine’s Russian GP weekend is that they out-scored the other ‘A’ teams, the down side, says Marcin Budkowski, is that they missed out on a podium.

Fernando Alonso was running in sixth place when the rain arrived late in Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix.

While his rivals struggled to keep their cars on the track on slick tyres, the Spaniard was able to continue and make his way up into third.

But, running in a podium position, the rain grew steadily heavier forcing Alpine to make the call to pit him. He finished P6.

“We’ll take sixth place, we will take the eight points, to zero to AlphaTauri and Aston Martin,” Alpine executive director Budkowski told Autosport. “So overall in the championship we’re doing a good operation. But the silverware was on the table.

“It’s a tricky one in these conditions. It starts to rain, it can rain more or it can start raining less. It looked like it was starting to rain less, and Fernando was doing really well on his dry tyres in the tricky conditions, with light rain, passing some some cars.

“And the reality is had the rain intensity reduced he would have been P2 probably, or P1 if both [Lewis] Hamilton and [Lando] Norris had pitted. But he would have been a P2.

“The rain picked up, we don’t get that right, so a bit disappointed with not finishing on the podium when we thought it was possible.

“But you can’t get it right every time. Some people got it more right than us, and some people got it less right than us.”

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As for Alonso, the Spaniard was also left to rue a missed opportunity especially as he felt he had the pace for the podium.

“It was a good race obviously for us,” he said. “The best race of the year I have to say in terms of performance. The car felt very fast, a good balance throughout the race.

“We were keeping up the pace with Checo in the first stint. Then we switched to the medium tyre, and we were able to even overtake [Max] Verstappen at one point and pull away from him.

“Then it started a little bit drizzling on dry tyres and we overtook Daniel, Checo and Sainz and we were P3. So I think the podium was possible on merit, the car was flying. And I was very happy, but unfortunately the rain came five laps to the end.

“Some people took some risks, some people other risks, and we were unlucky, or the podium [finishers] let’s say were very lucky, but in these conditions it’s always a lottery.”


Alonso feels luck played a big part in Sunday’s result.

He added: “We seem ultra competitive, so we need to understand if we did something different here, try to keep [going] forward for the next events, because the car was very fast, so that was a very positive sign.

“For sure, I think we should be on the podium today in terms of executing the race and driving. We were in front of Verstappen, we were pulling away from him, we were in front of Sainz.

“Norris did an amazing race, and just by luck he is not on the podium or his first ever win in Formula 1. So when it rains, it’s just a very lucky factor.

“And I’m sad because when we are not competitive and we are P11 or P12, it never rains, so we never get lucky. And today that we are P3, today it just rained. So not sad. But definitely we are not very lucky.

“But every point we got this year is on merit, we never had any gifts this year. So I’m proud of every point that I took this year.”

Alonso brought Alpine’s tally up to 103 points for the season, 19 ahead of AlphaTauri.


PlanetF1 verdict


Alpine disappointed at no silverware.

Although Fernando Alonso finished P6 at the Russian GP, Alpine re disappointed as silverware was there for the taking.