Alonso rues ‘another eight points in the bin’

Jamie Woodhouse
Alpine perform a pit stop on the car of Fernando Alonso. Austria, July 2022.

Alpine perform a pit stop on the car of Fernando Alonso at the Red Bull Ring. Austria, July 2022.

Fernando Alonso went from P19 to P10 come the chequered flag in Austria, but he felt it was eight points lost, not one gained.

An electronics issue had prevented Alonso from starting sprint qualifying in Austria, meaning he was P19 and last on the grid for the Grand Prix, since Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas was starting from the pit lane.

On the face of it, P10 seemed a good recovery, earning Alonso a single point, but he did not see it that way.

The Spaniard said he was on to finish P6, that was until he was forced into a pair of pit stops after what the FIA described as a “parts failure” on the front-left.

The FIA cleared Alpine of releasing Alonso back into the race in an unsafe car, but with P10 being his final finishing position, Alonso felt that it was a case of points slipping away once again.

Put to Alonso by Sky Sports F1 that P10 was a good result, Alonso replied: “No, no, I was P6 until the double stop at the end, so from P6 to P10. So another eight points in the bin today.”

Asked if the front-left wheel was not fitted on properly, Alonso said: “No I think the wheel was okay but I had huge vibrations on that set, so we needed to see what was there and I had to stop again.

“I was P14 when I was going out, instead of the eighth that I think I could have been, and from P14 we took some places until P10.

“It was good fun and the car was mega fast today, starting 19th and possibility of finishing sixth means a lot for us. But the points keep avoiding us, but still good fun.”

Nonetheless, with Alpine “flying” this weekend and now level on points with McLaren, Alonso has his sights set on challenging them for P4 in the Constructors’ Championship.

Mentioned that Alonso’s team-mate Esteban Ocon, who finished P5, believed that Alpine had the fourth-fastest car on the grid, Alonso stated: “Yeah, sure. This weekend we were flying.

“I’m happy that we took some points with him and this, and let’s see in the next couple of races if we can score with both cars and fight McLaren for the top four in the Championship.”

Starting from P6, Ocon denied the suggestion that his race had been a quiet one, the Frenchman indeed seeing plenty of racing action throughout the Austrian GP, naming his battles with George Russell, Lewis Hamilton and Kevin Magnussen in particular.

Overall, he described this as a “perfect weekend” for the team.

“Quiet race? Not really I’ve been fighting George, fight with Kevin, we fought with Lewis a bit, we had quite a few fights,” he said.

“We did quite a lot of overtakes in between, on Zhou Guanyu and quite a few drivers coming back through the field and it was awesome.

“It’s a perfect weekend. I think for us there’s nothing better we could have done. Top five, 13 points in total we scored this weekend, so it’s huge. We are going to France with good confidence.”

Ocon had hoped to keep up his battle with Russell, but ultimately had to let the Mercedes driver go.

Still, he felt Alpine were “clearly” the fourth-fastest team out there.

“Yeah, clearly,” he agreed. “There were hopes we could fight with George at the time, but after the restart he was too fast so I had to let him go.

“But I think this weekend it looked like we were, hopefully it will be [the same] on all the rest of the circuits.”