Alonso didn’t expect to be so quick in qualifying

Henry Valantine
Fernando Alonso in his helmet. Turkey October 2021.

Fernando Alonso wears his helmet walking through the paddock in Turkey. October 2021.

Fernando Alonso earned his best qualifying result since coming back to Formula 1 – and admitted he had not expected to be so competitive.

The Alpine driver equalled the run to P6 he managed in qualifying in Russia but, given Lewis Hamilton’s penalty which dropped him out of the top 10, Alonso will line up in the top five on the grid for the first time since the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix when he was driving for Ferrari.

Given his and Alpine’s recent upturn in form, the double former World Champion has been enjoying his driving – but he is still cautious in the knowledge he has not converted his starting slot into a strong result just yet.

“It was good. It was enjoyable – I think the car felt fast today with all compounds of tyres,” Alonso told after qualifying. “We qualified on the medium tyres in Q2, which is normally not a luxury we have – normally we have to put the softs [on] to go through.

“But today the car felt fast and obviously the points are given tomorrow. Today, it means just nothing, but it’s a good starting position.”

Check out all the latest Fernando Alonso merchandise on the official Formula 1 store

Lando Norris admitted McLaren have not been able to keep pace with Alonso’s Alpine over the course of the race weekend so far, but the Spaniard said there has not yet been enough representative running over long distances to assess how the tyres will perform on Sunday, causing an “unknown” for the race.

There is also a possibility of further rain hitting the circuit before the race gets under way, so the 40-year-old said he is not sure what to expect when the race starts – including whether or not he can keep up his speed from Saturday.

“I don’t know, let’s see tomorrow,” Alonso said when asked about his long-run pace. “I was surprised as well, a little bit, to be that competitive in the qualifying.


“I think the race is a different thing. They [McLaren] are very consistent and they are very strong on Sundays.

“So let’s see if we can keep this position, but I think the biggest unknown [is] of the degradation of the tyres because yesterday we didn’t have enough info under the weather.

“We saw today how long it takes to dry the circuit and if it rains tomorrow morning, maybe the start is in damp conditions.”


Shocks and surprises in chaotic Turkey GP qualifying

A frantic qualifying session took place at the Turkish Grand Prix, with some surprising results.