‘Every driver copied Alonso’s Turn 3 racing line’

Date published: September 6 2021 - Henry Valantine

Fernando Alonso drives Turn 3 at Zandvoort.

A report in Spain has claimed Fernando Alonso was the first driver to find the optimum line around the banked Turn 3 at Zandvoort.

A source from AS found that, upon reviewing each driver’s telemetry around the tricky cambered left-hander, every other car on the grid then followed the lead of the double World Champion through the rest of the weekend.

Drivers started off trying out different lines in free practice, with multiple routes around Turn 3 possible – but Alonso’s route of dipping two wheels off the white line around the outside of the corner, proved to enable the highest apex speed and best angle to get the power down quickly.

The AS report said part of Alpine’s promising early pace came from Alonso’s line at Turn 3, which was quickly replicated by Esteban Ocon in FP2, before other teams and drivers cottoned on to where they were gaining time.

Zandvoort gained rave reviews up and down the grid for its challenges as a circuit, and Alonso’s opinion was no different.

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“It was fun to drive out there,” Alonso said at the weekend. “The circuit has challenges, that’s for sure. I don’t know if it compares to any other circuit we’ve been to recently.

“There is no room for error, there is gravel and grass everywhere. But 10 years ago all the circuits were like this and nothing happened.

“I enjoyed with low fuel load, the car feels very fast here and it was fun. I’m a pretty clean driver, I normally never take advantage of the run-offs.

“It reminds me of Jarama [former Spanish Grand Prix venue], also because of the facilities. It wouldn’t be any different with a car from 10 years ago because it’s still narrow and… dangerous, in a way.

“Latifi touched the grass a bit and lost the car. In a way, though, it’s the way it should be.”

Although he enjoys the tight and punishing layout at tracks like Zandvoort, he almost fell foul of the narrow track on the final lap when overtaking Carlos Sainz.

Alonso admitted it was a “very stressful” moment for him as he locked up at Turn 3 and careered towards the edge of the track, but he managed to hang onto his Alpine and pull off an audacious move on the Ferrari to take P6 on the day, having started down in P9, which is where Ocon eventually crossed the line on Sunday.