‘Alonso showed flair, Vettel not at his finest’

Michelle Foster
Fernando Alonso Alpine PA

Fernando Alonso Alpine PA

While Fernando Alonso showed “flair” in the Bahrain Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel did not have the “finest debut” says Ross Brawn.

Alonso was one of the big headlines, and uncertainties, in the build-up to the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix as the double World Champion returned to the sport after two years out.

Racing for Alpine, Alonso qualified his A52 inside the top ten and was fighting for points when he was forced to retire.

The Spaniard parked his car in the team’s garage after a sandwich wrapper damaged his brake system.

Alonso, though, showed in his 34 laps that he still has what it takes with F1 managing director Brawn saying that is “great” for Formula 1.

Brawn said in Bahrain debrief: “Mixed feelings for Alonso and Vettel.

“We saw bits of the old Fernando Alonso out there in Bahrain, the Spaniard showing some of the flair which yielded him two World Championships.

“When Alpine get their car sorted out a bit more, Alonso should keep us entertained in future.

“His return is great for Formula 1 – and I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do.”

But while the signs of an Alonso of old were good for the sport, the signs of Vettel of old were not.

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The German had a debut to forget with his new team, penalised after qualifying for ignoring double waved yellows and rear-ending Esteban Ocon in the race.

In the heat of the moment Vettel accused Ocon of moving under braking, however, the stewards declared that the German was “wholly” to blame and slapped him with a 10-second time penalty.

He finished P15, second last.

Vettel did leave Bahrain with points, but they were all penalty points, five of them to be exact.

“Sebastian Vettel did not have the finest debut for Aston Martin,” Brawn said.

“In the heat of the moment, he blamed Esteban Ocon for their accident, but I don’t think anyone saw it that way.

“It was not a great weekend – and I hope he can get it together because he’s a four-time World Champion who can the potential to deliver yet more great drives.”

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