Alonso went ‘kamikaze’ after engine issue arose

Date published: June 20 2022 - Michelle Foster

Fernando Alonso putting on his race suit on the grid. Montreal June 2022a

Fernando Alonso drove “kamikaze” for most of the Canadian Grand Prix after an engine issue on lap 20 left him Alpine down on power.

Alonso started the 70-lap Canadian Grand Prix from the front row of the grid and said before the start of the race that he hoped to at least lead the opening lap.

It was not to be and any hopes he had of a podium finish were undone on lap 20 when, running second at the time, his A522 suddenly lost power.

Falling further down the order, and not helped by a pit stop under green, Alonso fell to seventh and was only able to hold onto that position with some “kamikaze” driving and a bit of help from his team-mate Esteban Ocon.

“We had an engine problem on lap 20 where we cut the energy very early on the straights, as soon as we exited the corners,” Alonso told reporters in Canada.

“So we tried to fix it. But it didn’t work. So luckily, we didn’t retire the car and we still scored a few points. But until that point, I think we were fighting for the podium.

“At the beginning of the race I felt strong compared to Hamilton, we just didn’t have the pace of Verstappen and Sainz, but okay to control Hamilton and the Mercedes.

“And then the Virtual Safety Cars, lucky or unlucky, that could change the race, okay. But we could still maybe be fighting for P3, P4.

“But then when the engine problem came, it was just trying to survive, trying to get the DRS, driving kamikaze in the corners before the detection, because the DRS was my only safety on the straights after that.”

But while Alonso had to use Ocon and the DRS to stick with his team-mate there was a moment when the driver believed had the pace to overtake and told the team he would be “a hundred times faster”.

Alpine told him to stay put due to his deficit on the straights.

“I could not pass. But yeah, it was very frustrating because my car was flying this weekend,” he said.

“And I had one second deficit more or less on the straights. And even with that I was still quicker on the race. So it’s unbelievable to finish P7.

“We had the same tyres [as Ocon], because we both stopped on the VSC. I was one second slower on the straights, so I had to recover 1.1 or 1.2 on the corners, just to close that gap. So it was difficult.”

Crossing the line P7, Alonso fell to ninth after a post-race penalty for weaving on the straight as he defended against Valtteri Bottas.