Fernando Alonso believes that Alpine were probably not fast enough on pure pace to merit a top-10 finish in Styria, but he got it.
There was drama at the start as Charles Leclerc clipped Pierre Gasly, causing front-wing damage for Leclerc while Gasly picked up a puncture which forced him to retire.
That saw Alonso improve to P7 as the midfield train formed behind, and although Leclerc and his Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz both ultimately made their ways past Alonso, the Spaniard held off Yuki Tsunoda’s attack to cross the line P9.
Without that helping hand at the start though, Alonso is not so sure that he would have walked away from the first of back-to-back weekends at the Red Bull Ring with points.
“It was challenging, I think maybe we are not as good as a top-10 finisher,” he admitted to reporters.
“We got lucky at the beginning with Gasly and Leclerc colliding, and then we tried to hold the position but with the two Ferraris we could not stop them.
“But Q3 yesterday, top 10 today, some points. Not the best weekend but I think it is challenging for our package at this circuit.
“Unfortunately we race two times here so we need to find something for next weekend, but we have some ideas and I’m sure we will use these two weekends to improve our car.”
Alonso was far from pleased when Sainz overtook him, believing that happened because he had been shown the blue flags as race leader Max Verstappen approached.
But after some time outside of the cockpit, Alonso realised that keeping Sainz behind was probably going to be impossible anyway.
“It was frustrating at that time when you lose a position because you have the blue flags,” he explained.
“But I think Carlos would have overtaken us one lap later or two laps later because the pace was much faster than us, so I don’t think that changed anything on our race.”
Ocon was unable to add any points to Alpine’s total at the end of a difficult weekend for the Frenchman, who said he had lacked the pace to compete throughout the race.
“It has been a challenging weekend overall, not easy at all,” he said.
“Today we were again just lacking pace, not being able to follow the train where there were all those battles between [Sebastian] Vettel, Kimi [Raikkonen] and Daniel [Ricciardo], I was just losing ground and once I lost DRS that was it, I was going backwards.
“I was a lot more in the defensive than the attacking position this race which was not fantastic, but we have the chance to be racing here again next week and we are going to be able to try different things, hopefully come out with some more solutions on positive pace.”