Mike Krack has joked Mercedes “know more about our car than we do” after Lewis Hamilton was told Fernando Alonso had a brake issue, one Aston Martin didn’t know about.
Chasing down Alonso in the final 10 laps of the Canadian Grand Prix, Hamilton brought the gap down to 1.4s and was told by Mercedes there was a rear brake issue that his Aston Martin rival was having to manage.
Bono: “Sounds like Alonso is nursing a rear brake issue.”
That was news to the Aston Martin pit wall.
“I was surprised as well to hear that,” team boss Krack said after the race. “I think Lewis was told we had a brake situation.
“We looked at each other and we said ‘They know more about our car than we do, we should speak to our Mercedes engineers’.”
But while Alonso didn’t have a brake issue, at least not one that Aston Martin knew of, the team was worried at one point that he did have a fuel system problem.
Wanting to chase race leader Max Verstappen for the victory, Alonso was told he needed to lift and coast with the Spaniard replying: “I want to win this race mate.”
It turned out to be a false alarm.
“We thought we had a problem with the fuel system,” Krack said. “But we were not sure, so as a precaution, we said the best is to save some fuel and to do lift and coast.”
Pressed for additional details, the German stuck with: “We thought we had a problem which did not materialise in the end.”
As for whether that cost Alonso a shot at the victory, the double World Champion 10 seconds behind Verstappen at the chequered flag, Krack said bringing home second place was the team’s first concern.
“How much it costs us? It’s difficult to judge. A few tenths, probably, one or two, maybe,” he said.
“It was a precautionary thing. But you can choose between not finishing or arriving with a bit more [fuel], so we wanted to be safe.
“We were closer than lately, but maybe if we had got closer, he would have pushed more. It’s very hypothetical.”
Alonso was asked about the lift and coast warning when he sat down for the post-race press conference but at that moment he didn’t know the details.
“I still don’t know anything that happened to the lift and coast that I had to do,” he said. “So maybe we need to reduce the media time and give us a little bit of time with the engineers and maybe we come here with more info.”
With his sixth podium in eight races, Alonso is closing in on Sergio Perez for second in the Drivers’ standings with the Spaniard now just nine points off the pace.
Asked if he believes he can beat Perez to P2, he simply replied: “Yes.”