Fernando Alonso: ‘Ferrari always do some strange strategies’

Jon Wilde
Fernando Alonso's Alpine during the Belgian GP. Spa-Francorchamps August 2022.

Fernando Alonso was not completely surprised when he found himself in an unexpected duel with Charles Leclerc at the end of the Belgian Grand Prix.

Rounding the opening corner, La Source, at the start of the penultimate lap, Alonso saw the Ferrari emerging from the pits, Leclerc having made a stop for fresh tyres to try and grab the point available for the race’s fastest lap.

That is often a good idea actioned by teams, but not when it leads to a battle for position their driver is not guaranteed to win.

Leclerc was overtaken by Alonso, but did get back past the Alpine to finish fifth on the road – although not with the fastest lap – before surrendering the position after the race when it emerged he had been speeding in the pit lane.

That indiscretion meant a five-second penalty which meant Alonso ended up a respectable fifth and Leclerc sixth, the Monegasque having started 15th on the grid due to taking an engine-related penalty.

Asked whether he was surprised at Ferrari’s decision to bring in Leclerc for the soft tyres, Alonso agreed he was – but did caveat his answer.

“Yeah, I was surprised,” said the laughing Spaniard, who raced for the Scuderia between 2010 and 2014.

“[But] Ferrari always do some strange strategies. So that was one of those.”

Alonso’s race had begun by colliding with Lewis Hamilton on the opening lap, the seven-time former World Champion also on the receiving end of a tongue-lashing from his 2007 McLaren team-mate besides exiting the race.

Hamilton later apologised for the contact and Alonso was also in more of a conciliatory mood when asked about the incident during his interview.

“I was surprised and for sure he now saw the incident and he takes the responsibility, which is obviously very nice from him,” said Alonso.

“It was a lap-one incident, nothing really to say there or the stewards didn’t say anything because these things happen, especially in that corner.

“It happened in the past, I remember also with Lewis and Nico Rosberg, the same thing, so it’s a tricky corner. I was frustrated in that moment for sure.

“Every time we start on the first row, second row, we are fighting top two, top three, there is something going on.

“And yeah, it was frustrating, but luckily my car was very strong and nothing happened, I could continue. Lewis had not good luck and he had to retire the car.”