Damon Hill has said McLaren and Alpine’s fight is “like a pub brawl” and that the two teams just can not be kept apart.
Both are multiple Constructor Championship winners with McLaren having won eight and Renault two in 2005 and 2006.
Speaking on the F1 Nation podcast, Hill said the final moments of the race were “thrilling” and described how Alonso played his part in that.
“Absolutely brilliant wasn’t it?” the 1996 World Champion said. “After the Safety Car, my mind was set on who was going to win this race from the front and you kind of took your eye off the ball, because there was Sergio [Perez] as well lurking and then Fernando Alonso lurking as well.
“So there was some really, really incredibly close racing and I think that it showed these cars can get really close in the high downforce corners because they were very close for a long time. It just set up the most thrilling finish.”
On Alonso specifically, Hill said he had “incredible awareness” of what is going on around him and was pleased to see McLaren and Alpine battling it out once more.
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“He’s got incredible race craft,” Hill said. “He’s got an incredible awareness of what’s going on strategically in the race as well. You know, the other thing is, there’s this battle between Alpine, and what used to be Renault as well, and McLaren. You can’t keep them apart can you it’s like a pub brawl.”
The two constructors are separated by just six points in the race for fourth and are beginning to pull away from the likes of Alfa Romeo behind them.
With a resurgent Alonso, McLaren will need both of their drivers to consistently pick up points but Hill was again left wondering where Daniel Ricciardo was after the Australian finished 13th.
“Lando had a great weekend definitely, [but] where’s Danny Ric? What happened to Danny Ric this weekend? He went completely off the radar,” Hill said.
Ricciardo himself was unable to answer that question and admitted to being mystified about his lack of pace.
“Zero pace,” Ricciardo told reporters afterwards. “A little bit like Barcelona where I didn’t seem to operate at the same level of grip as the cars around me.
“I could just feel it through the tyres as well, trying to carry speed.
“Obviously a little bit confused by that at the moment. It’s clear what I felt, but the reasons why I’m obviously not sure. It was just a bit odd, so we have a bit of investigating to do.
“Hopefully we find some answers because obviously it’s a quick turnaround to Austria.”