Fernando Alonso waved to fans whilst in DRS range of Lance Stroll

Michelle Foster
Fernando Alonso with a big smile in an interview. Spain June 2023

Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso with a big smile in an interview. Spain June 2023

Waving to the Spanish fans on the final lap of the Barcelona race instead of attacking his team-mate for position, Fernando Alonso joked he didn’t want risk damaging yet another floor.

Alonso qualified down in ninth place for his home race with the Spaniard’s efforts in Q3 undone by a damaged floor that required running repairs.

It meant for the first time this season he was out-qualified by his team-mate Lance Stroll with the Canadian keeping Alonso behind him throughout the race.

Heading into the final 10 laps of the grand prix, Alonso closed right up on his team-mate – even getting within DRS range – but told Aston Martin to “tell Lance not to worry, I just want to build a gap to the cars behind in case of rain or anything”.

Alonso crossed the line eight-tenths down on his team-mate with the Spaniard opting to wave to his home fans rather than attack his team-mate on the final lap.

He explained: “I think I was a little bit faster, like one or two tenths and had newer tyres with 10 laps to go.

“But when you get close to another car you have some turbulent air and I’d damaged one floor already yesterday and didn’t want to damage another today. And I didn’t want him to damage the floor either defending.

“For us it was the same sixth and seventh or seventh and sixth, the same points, so bringing the car home was the right choice.”

PlanetF1.com recommends

Spain GP: Max Verstappen takes another step towards the title, double podium for Mercedes

Fernando Alonso highlights Mercedes ‘concern’ as Aston Martin fall down pecking order

The race marked only the second time this season Alonso had failed to reach the podium.

Asked if the ‘hype train’ had run out of steam and if he expected a repeat come Canada, he was adamant in his reply. “It will not happen again,” he insisted. “This is our last race without podiums.”

It was a disappointing race for Alonso with the double World Champion conceding his AMR23 just didn’t have the pace on the weekend.

“We were just too slow – both on the soft and on the hard tyres,” he said. “We had to concentrate on the Alpines and the AlphaTauris and were able to keep up with Ferrari’s pace.”

Asked if it was track dependent or a case the rival teams’ upgrades had put them ahead of Aston Martin, he replied: “I don’t know. I think a bit of both.

“The track wasn’t the best for us. Already in the first practice session we had a completely different set-up than we had planned in advance. So we had to put in a lot of work before we were satisfied with the car. So far [this year] we’ve always been satisfied with the car after the first practice session”.

“And then the updates from the others who may not have shown their full potential in Monaco and Miami – that is, on the street courses. Here we saw that they might be a little stronger.

“But I’m not worried. It’s going to be better and worse weekends and we will get our chance in Canada.”

He remains optimistic that Spain was a one-off.

“I think that in two weeks [in Canada] we will see a completely different picture and hopefully we can fight with the Red Bulls soon,” he concluded.