Fernando Alonso loves the Spanish Grand Prix. An obvious statement to make seeing how it is the home race of the two-time F1 Drivers’ Champion. Unfortunately though, having started the fourth Grand Prix of the 2021 F1 season in 10th position, the Spaniard would eventually cross the line in a lowly 17th. Speaking to the official website of the pinnacle of motorsport, formula1.com, Fernando Alonso blamed the result on a ‘very optimistic’ strategy from his team but one he would ‘rather prefer to risk’.
Fernando Alonso has always been an open and opinionated racer and although he is realistic in knowing that it will take time to get used to being back on the F1 starting grid that doesn’t make any underperformance any easier to take. Also, having seen his elated teammate Esteban Ocon secure 5th position for the start of the race, it further showed that the Alpine was a quick racing car.
Eventually, Esteban Ocon would drop four places over the course of the Spanish Grand Prix and cross the line in 9th – but this position still scored points for the impressive Frenchman. For Fernando Alonso, the Spaniard was a mere six laps from also being a point scorer in Barcelona. Such a result would have been a fairytale return for Alonso making his first appearance at the Spanish Grand Prix since 2018 – but it was not to be.
A starting position of 10th always leaves a car susceptible to those around him and so it proved to be with Fernando Alonso featuring in many midfield battles over the course of Sunday’s race. One such racer Alonso saw a lot of during his home race was Lance Stroll. The pair tussled twice and the second incident attracted the attention of a steward’s enquiry – albeit one where no further action was taken.
The lead commentator of F1 would have no doubt referred to the incidents as a ‘kerfuffle’ but as hard as Fernando Alonso tried, as the end of the race approached, the Spaniard could do nothing about the procession of cars behind him. Once the trail of cars had passed him with ease, Fernando Alonso had to settle for 17th place.
“I couldn’t drive!” laughed Alonso in front of the waiting television cameras which a modern F1 driver is now accustomed to. “I think we were in a very optimistic strategy with one-stop and I knew that [the drivers behind] were coming, I tried to hold five or six cars behind me for a couple of laps but it was not enough.”
As disappointing as the outcome was, Fernando Alonso was very clear that he would not have had things any other way:
“But I would rather prefer to risk that strategy and try to take that point than sit there behind and not scoring,” stated Alonso. “We were brave today, maybe too brave. I think there is some work to do in the race pace and the tyre management but happy in general with the weekend.”
Fernando Alonso is aware that the performance of Esteban Ocon is not going away but this is a battle the Spaniard clearly relishes:
“There’s still some work to go in terms of different driving style, different way of trying to set up for me in the car… I have some homework for sure…I think we felt more competitive here and it’s good,” added Alonso. “We want more, we will not stop here and hopefully more to come at Monaco.”
Formula One is all the better having Fernando Alonso back in it and we all know it is only a matter of time before the two-time F1 Drivers’ Champion gets the maximum from his Alpine.