They give him a beach hat, he walks to the most distant parking lot of the complex in Paul Ricard, takes a few photos with fans and gets in his private car to drive home, seven hours after completing the French GP in a Formula 1. Fernando Alonso is « happy », « Good Sunday and good weekend », « four points in the pocket ». « I started ninth and finished eighth, ahead of both Ferraris and Aston Martin, » he says. Points are expensive in the 2021 season and podiums will be almost impossible for Alpine, but in this championship individual performances are also evaluated, and in that section the Asturian is already at his usual level.
To get started, He passed Norris and Leclerc at the start, he fought with Ricciardo and ended up giving up the position against Ferrari, although he would end up beating him during the race. It seems that the starts are one of his strengths in these races, AS comments, recalling the highlight of Baku, to which he responds: « It has been my strong point in the last twenty years! » « Why wouldn’t it continue like this? At that point in the race you have to improvise, be creative. There are no benefits on the wheels or the car, you are yourself and your instinct. I am enjoying those laps, always the first. It was a strong point for me and now I am more comfortable with the car, the starting procedure and the behavior of the tires at that point. «
« I’m happy, but then little by little in the race, you fall to the position you deserve. This time it was around the tenth or eleventh in the first stint and in the second, about the eighth or the ninth. I’m happy With eighth, there are things to improve but it was a strong weekend, in Baku we entered Q3 and finished sixth, at Paul Ricard we entered Q3 and finished eighth. I think we are improving and I am happy, « the two-time champion transferred to this Newspaper.
A breath for Alpine
In Monaco and Azerbaijan, the A521 took a clear step back in terms of performance. It is a relief for the garage to see that when it reaches a conventional circuit, the accounts come back. Alonso corroborates: « We took a leap in Portugal and Barcelona, but the two urban circuits raised doubts, we were not competitive nor did we heat up the tires. It is a relief to see that we are performing well and can fight for the top-10. Good news, there will be ups and downs for the rest of the championship but I’m happy that we can get the most out of it. «
But there will hardly be time for analysis, because the Great Circus unfolds for two weeks at the Red Bull Ring, with two races. A less extreme circuit than Paul Ricard, Kinder to the tires and perhaps shrinking the grid again, as in the previous grands prix. Time for Alonso, who is already eleventh in the drivers’ standings (Alpine is seventh out of ten manufacturers), to make the difference again.