Fernando Alonso praises ‘very aggressive’ hard tyre call that paid off with P6 finish

Henry Valantine
Fernando Alonso walks the grid. Zandvoort September 2022.

Fernando Alonso says he and Alpine identified in Friday practice using the hard tyre would be beneficial in the Dutch Grand Prix – having been largely ignored by others before teams changed strategy mid-race.

Having complained of traffic during Q2 that he felt had hampered his final flying run, which left him down in P13 on the starting grid, Alonso was able to work his way up to finish seventh on the road before a penalty for Carlos Sainz was applied and elevated the Alpine driver up to P6.

Part of his and Alpine’s success came down to an early pit-stop that eventually paid dividends for them, moving onto a set of hard tyres that performed better than most had anticipated in race trim.

Running without other cars around him enabled Alonso to gain further track position after making early overtakes at Zandvoort, and he took a well-earned points finish for his troubles.

The speed of the C1 compound was perhaps unexpected, with the medium and soft compounds thought to have been the preferred race tyres heading into Sunday’s action.

But Alonso said he and Alpine knew early on they could make a positive impact on the white-marked Pirelli rubber.

“It was not very popular, I think, the hard tyre before the race – but for us it was the tyre to use,” Alonso told the official Formula 1 website after the race.

“So it was a very good call from the team. After free practice, we identified the hard tyre was working for our car.

“So we made a very aggressive early stop and tried to use some clean air in front of us and a very long middle stint with the hard tyres, but we could use our pace in the car and that was very good.”

Alonso featured highly in PlanetF1’s Dutch Grand Prix driver ratings as a result of his rise through the field, and the two-time former World Champion added he knew there was underlying pace within his A522 to be able to exploit – despite the tight Zandvoort layout that makes it difficult to overtake.

“The car was always good, I think, on the weekend, but qualifying was a bit difficult for us with traffic in Q2,” he explained.

“But nevertheless, you get new sets [of tyres] for the race if you are not in Q3, so it paid off at the end on Sunday.”