Alonso hails ‘mega’ car, vows to attack Verstappen in first corner

Sam Cooper
Fernando Alonso holds his hands up. Montreal June 2022.

Fernando Alonso holds his hands aloft after qualifying P2. Montreal June 2022.

Fernando Alonso hailed the Alpine car as “mega” after he earned his first front row spot since 2012 in a wet Canadian qualifying session.

The oldest driver on the grid demonstrated he had lost none of the skill that earned his him two World titles, as he navigated the tricky Montreal circuit and proved quick throughout the practice sessions and then into qualifying.

With Max Verstappen being a step above everyone else, Alonso won the best-of-the-rest competition as he defeated his compatriot Carlos Sainz whose stumble after the final corner cost him P2.

Speaking after the session, Alonso was happy to see the car’s Friday pace finally convert into Saturday and said the wet conditions played a part.

“It feels great,” he said during his post-session interview. “It was an unbelievable weekend so far for us. We’ve been competitive on free practice, which normally we are on Friday, but then on Saturday, we seem to lose a little bit of pace and but you know, thanks to the to the wet conditions today.

“The car was mega you know, I was so comfortable with driving this car and I think the fans also pushed me to make an extra push.”

The Spaniard was then asked what he was planning for the race and kept his answer brief, vowing to attack Verstappen on the first corner.

Speaking to Sky afterwards, Alonso did admit that P2 was a better result than even he had hoped for.

“It was an amazing day for us, starting on the first row is a little bit better than expected,” he said. “It’s a much better result than what we were hoping for but we take it for sure.

“It was a very tricky, qualifying, semi-dry but still on inters and I think we benefit from those conditions.”

The last time Alonso qualified in the top three was in Brazil in 2013, but he was not willing to accept that he now had a car that could challenge for the top spots once more.

“I’m not sure if still we have the car to put us in that position, it was just today. I think lucky with the circumstances but we are working a lot to make the car as fast as possible.

“We brought new sidepods to Baku, also new parts here on the rear wing so this kind of result for sure it helps you know everyone in the factory to keep working.”

It was an all round good day for Alpine with Alonso’s team-mate Esteban Ocon also starting in the top 10 after a P7 finish.