Alonso’s 44 laps on soft tyres was ‘the right call’

Date published: May 23 2021

Fernando Alonso, Alpine

Fernando Alonso praised Alpine’s choice of strategy – even though his Monaco Grand Prix had been “more or less over” on Saturday.

After qualifying a lowly 17th the Spaniard bemoaned his car’s lack of pace, with Alpine seemingly having gone backwards again from the more promising performances they had produced in Portugal and Spain.

With Monaco notorious for being extremely difficult to overtake, scoring points looked an impossible task for the two-time former World Champion barring a high rate of attrition.

That did not materialise, but the 39-year-old did manage to pull off a couple of early moves on Yuki Tsunoda and George Russell and ended up finishing 13th.

But Alonso feared even that position might be out of reach when he saw which tyres Alpine were fitting at his pit-stop before the halfway mark – asking him to go the rest of the distance on a set of softs.

“It was difficult,” Alonso told reporters. “I think after yesterday’s qualifying the race was more or less over for us, unfortunately.

“The race was not too bad. I think on the first lap we recovered two places, one at the start and one at Turn 3, taking some risk but it was worth doing it.

“But after that, the race was a little bit boring – no Safety Cars, nothing today. So P13 was the maximum.”

On the strategy, he added: “It was 44 laps to the end. When I saw the red colour I thought ‘this is going to be a long stint’.

“But they worked fine and were very performing at the end, so it was the right call, but I was surprised when I saw the colour.”

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Alpine did gain some reward for their weekend endeavours, however, as Esteban Ocon improved two places on his qualifying performance to bag a couple of points for finishing ninth.

It was the fourth consecutive race in which Ocon had scored points and he now has 12 this season to Alonso’s five.

“Four times in a row…it feels good to keep scoring consistently,” said the Frenchman. “Also on a weekend when we were not at our best in terms of performance compared to the last couple of races.

“It feels good to come out with two points. I feel confident in the car and I’m very pleased with the job we are doing with my guys and overall with the team.

“When the moments are like that you need to enjoy them and that’s what I’m doing.”

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