This afternoon’s race hasn’t started off as expected for the French team, with Esteban Ocon having to retire after suffering a loss of power a few laps into the race.
“The race didn’t start well with Esteban having to stop with a power unit problem and Fernando’s race pace was not competitive, for which we need to understand the reasons”, commented Marcin Budkowski, Alpine’s Executive Director.
However, Alpine F1 Team managed to score eight points thanks to a stunning final two laps by Fernando Alonso, who climbed four places to finish in the sixth position at the chequered flag.
Alonso, who started the race in P8, attempted an undercut after only eight laps. However, given a less-than-ideal pace, he was soon overtaken by Norris and the other McLaren driven by Daniel Ricciardo, leaving the two-time champion as low as 12th.
The Spanish driver leveraged on his experience and produced a couple of superb final laps that enabled him to leave Baku with his best result in Formula 1 since the Australian Grand Prix in 2018.
“I am happy for the team that we took some good points from this weekend, I felt we deserved it after a challenging weekend.
“The final laps were a lot of fun and we tried to attack and be aggressive to recover some places. The weekend was quite solid for us but we did lack a little bit of pace during the race. So we need to review that but I am happy with the day in the end and we’ll look to take this forward into France”, commented the Spaniard.
At the race start, both Alonso and Ocon gained places on the grid. By the end of lap one, Fernando was in P7, with a teammate just outside the points in eleventh place.
Unfortunately, just a few laps later the French’s race was brought to a sudden epilogue as he suffered an abrupt loss of power that forced him to box and retire from the race.
In the sole remaining car, Alonso was one of the first drivers to switch to the hard compound and decided to pit on lap 7. Most of the field starting on soft tyres followed suit just a few laps later – and with the order chopping and changing – the Spaniard eventually stabilized his position just outside the top ten.
Just when the race seemed decided, the first safety car was brought out on lap 31 due to Lance Stroll’s incident on the main straight.
The Spaniard pitted again and with fresher rubber, he gained a few places and targeted the top ten positions. The result looked set before a red flag was waved for Max Verstappen’s crash, bringing the entire field into the pitlane and throwing the last two laps into a mad sprint to the finishing line.
HOLY CROISSANTS!— Alpine F1 Team (@AlpineF1Team) June 6, 2021
Fernando is up to P7 after the restart, and he passes TSU for P6! #AzerbaijanGP
Alonso saved his best till the end and put on a driving masterclass. First, he carved his way past several cars into turn one, before a brave overtake on Yuki Tsunoda on the outside of turn five to conquer an awesome sixth position around the Baku City Circuit.
“The heart-warming positive was some Fernando magic to regain four positions and finish P6, which is a great reward for everyone’s hard work. He’s back in a very competitive state and we now need to work together to get back on form at the next race in France”, concluded Alpine’s Executive Director Budkowski.