Alonso dismisses Albon’s ‘ridiculous’ qualy claims

Sam Cooper
Fernando Alonso smiling whilst holding a microphone. Baku, June 2022.

Alpine's Fernando Alonso smiles as he answers a question. Baku, June 2022.

Fernando Alonso has denied he intentionally left the track during Q1 after Alex Albon accused him of doing so.

Following Lance Stroll caused a red flag, the drivers hoping to avoid an early exit where given 2:30 to get back out on track and over the start line to complete a final flying lap.

This resulted in an almighty queue in the pit lane with the drivers currently safe strategically positioned ahead of those that were not in order to control the pace of the pack.

Alonso was one of those dictating the pace of those behind him and after he went into the run-off at Turn 15 he was angrily accused by Albon of doing so on purpose.

“He needs to get penalised, this guy [Alonso], he has to,”Albon said over the team radio. “This is ridiculous. He was doing it the whole lap. He was driving slowly on purpose and then it was so obvious, how he went off the track it was ridiculous.

“He braked so early and then he just went off the circuit.”

Alonso however has denied any wrongdoing and said he did so because he believed he would not make the corner.

“Not really,” he replied when asked by Autosport if he was playing tricks. “That corner I think we saw during qualifying that it was extremely challenging.

“I braked late, I could not make the corner I thought, so I took the escape road. McLaren did as well in Q2, Sebastian [Vettel] thought that he could make the corner and broke the front wing. So, there’s always a tricky decision that you need to make in a tenth of a second.”

“I know it resulted in frustration because there were queueing cars and only two and a half minutes [left] at the end of Q1. Honestly, I understand them because I have been in the opposite position as well many times.”

The 40-year-old went on to suggest that perhaps the qualifying format should be altered in order to avoid situations like this in the future.

“I think Esteban [Ocon] missed Q3 because of a yellow flag in Q2 from McLaren, so we need to find a better solution for this kind of problem because we should all be able to make our laps.

“Even the old format with the superpole, where we all had one lap alone on track, maybe it was good for TV and it was good for us as well, because at the moment there is too much interaction with other cars, with tows, with yellows flags and this is not the best.”