Fernando Alonso did try to get involved in the fight for the top four, but he had a front-row seat for the dramatic finale at Silverstone nonetheless.
Alonso’s Alpine team-mate Esteban Ocon’s retirement brought out the Safety Car in the British Grand Prix, his fuel pump issue bunching the pack up for a final 10-lap dash to the line.
Alonso was fifth in the queue of drivers as they took the restart, and was lurking in the background in the hope of fighting his way into the top three – though he could not stay close enough to mount an attack on the front four.
Carlos Sainz, Charles Leclerc, Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez all fought tooth-and-nail as they battled for the race victory, with Sainz eventually able to establish a lead and take his maiden grand prix victory on Sunday.
The two-time World Champion had been looking to capitalise on any contact between the drivers in front, but he enjoyed watching it all unfold in front of him anyway.
“I was witnessing the fight in front of me and they were very close to each other and I thought, okay, they will touch, two cars out, it will be enough for the podium,” Alonso told Sky F1 after the race.
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“But they raced very hard, but with all due respect, so it was fun to watch as well from behind. And then, yeah, I think P5 is [a] mega result for us, even though I think it’s going to be even P4 because I saw Charles moving 10 times direction on the straight defending from Lewis, and I moved once in Canada and I had five seconds [penalty] so these three movements I guess, not allowed. So yeah, P4 feels even better,” he said with a smile.
The battle between Alpine and McLaren for fourth in the Constructors’ Championship is beginning to take shape, with the Enstone team sitting six points behind the combined total of Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo – and Alonso feels there’s not a lot to choose between the two cars at the moment.
“I think we are fourth I would say in terms of team standings, very close to McLaren [at] some circuits like this one,” he said.
“I think this one was very good for McLaren with high-speed corners, and we were right there with them.
“But yeah, Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari are a little bit too much ahead of us at the moment. So unfortunately, even if we feel good and feel competitive, P7 or P8 is our real position – so we need to keep improving.”