Fernando Alonso: Hungary 2021 ‘will never happen again in a hundred years’

Michelle Foster
Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon celebrate the Frenchman's win in Hungary. August 2021.

Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon celebrate an unlikely victory for Alpine at the Hungaroring. August 2021.

Fernando Alonso says Alpine weren’t able to repeat their 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix win this past season because what happened that Sunday will “never happen again in a hundred years”.

Last year Alpine recorded their first win since Kimi Raikkonen’s 2013 Australian Grand Prix triumph, then racing as Lotus, as Esteban Ocon beat Lewis Hamilton to the chequered flag.

In drying conditions Alpine benefitted from one retirement apiece from Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari, while Mercedes made an unexpected call to leave race leader Lewis Hamilton out on intermediate tyres for a restart while every other car still running pitted for slicks.

Ocon led the race while Alonso played moving bollard as he held up the charging Hamilton, who had pitted for slick tyres four laps later, to give his team-mate some breathing room.

Ocon held onto win by 2.7s over Hamilton with Alonso P4 on the day. The Spaniard would later add his name to the season’s podium list, P3 in Qatar.

This season Alpine didn’t even reach the podium, never mind take a race win.

Asked while the team wasn’t able to repeat that success, Alonso said as per GPFans: “We don’t have the win because what happened in Hungary last year will never happen again in a hundred years, so that is a casualty.

“And then, the podium, maybe in Canada and Australia we had a chance but we lost by our own fault.”

Despite the race win Alpine only managed fifth in last year’s Constructors’ Championship, 120 points behind McLaren. This season they beat the Woking team to ‘best of the rest’ by 14 points.

Saying the team was “similar to last year in a way”, Alonso added that “when you are not fighting for the championship, to be fourth or fifth doesn’t change much.”

The Spaniard will race for Aston Martin next season, calling time on his third stint with the Enstone team after just two years.

New rules didn’t level the field, they widened the gap – for now

Last season, the final year under Formula 1’s old batch of regulations, eight teams featured on the podium including a win for Alpine and also one for McLaren.

This year only four teams reached the podium with McLaren joining the top-three in spraying the champagne.

It, however, was a one-off and happened on a Sunday when Ferrari basically took themselves out of the equation.

But while Formula 1’s bosses are overjoyed with this year’s new regulations and the fact that the cars can follow closer, it hasn’t exactly done anything to level the playing field. In fact the gap is wider now than it was last year.

McLaren team boss Andreas Seidl reckons for now at least the “time of these lucky punches is pretty much over with the regulations that we have.”

He explained that even though the rules will eventually (hopefully) level the playing field, at a time of all-new regulations it is those who started out with “best infrastructure” and that “had unlimited money in the past” who have an advantage.

That was evident with Red Bull and Ferrari leading the way while Mercedes made the biggest gains of any team over the course of the year.

So while the midfield is definitely more exciting, the gap to the top-three may take a few years to close.

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