Alonso: ‘We’ve been faster than Mercedes this weekend’

Henry Valantine
Fernando Alonso leads into Turn 6. Melbourne Australia 2022.

Alpine driver Fernando Alonso holds Sergio Perez and Lewis Hamilton behind. Australia April 2022.

Fernando Alonso believes Alpine were “a little bit faster than Mercedes” all weekend in Melbourne, after a frustrating race for the Spaniard.

Alonso appeared to be in the hunt for a top three starting slot after a superb qualifying session was cut short following a hydraulic failure in Q3, and started P10 as a result.

He and his team opted to go against the grain and start on the hard tyres, which would allow him to drive further into the race before pitting, but an ill-timed Safety Car allowed those around him to put on hard rubber to the end of the race.

Alonso then plummeted outside the points when he did pit, and his medium tyres proved unstable and he ended up finishing P17 and last on the road at Albert Park – far away from what he had expected in the weekend.

With Mercedes drivers George Russell and Lewis Hamilton having taken P3 and P4, the 40-year-old believed there was maybe potential to get on the podium himself, had things gone smoothly.

“We were looking for P6 or P7, starting on the hard tyre on the reverse [strategy], which was good, starting in tenth,” Alonso told Sky F1.

“[It was] the Safety Car in the wrong moment of the race that was our killer, so I’m a little bit speechless because I think today, we could have been on the podium, to be honest.

“If we qualified third or fourth yesterday, with Max [Verstappen] out, George in the podium – I think we’ve been a little bit faster than the Mercedes this weekend.

“So we lost that opportunity here, also in Jeddah where we were doing a very good race.

“So this is the way it is at the moment, a little bit unlucky. Twenty races to go, in some of them I will be super lucky, I guess,” he added with a smile.

The European season will start with the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola in a fortnight’s time, with every team expected to bring significant upgrades to their car with three races now under their belts.

Even though Alpine have become increasingly competitive in the early stages of the year, Alonso urged caution when asked if they can keep fighting around the top five positions movign forward.

 

“Let’s see,” he said. “I think it’s going to be a real test for us because [Imola is] slower compared to the last two events.

“We will see if we can keep this performance, but we need to see also in Imola, we will see some upgrades for everyone I guess, so we will see how fast we can be.”

 

What might have been for Alonso and Alpine

Fernando Alonso finished last on the road but could have been in the hunt for pole, while Esteban Ocon had a solid weekend for Alpine.