Saturday, July 13, 2024

Fernando Alonso: “I think it was more or less the maximum we could achieve today”

Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team’s Fernando Alonso finished the Austrian Grand Prix in sixth place before being promoted to fifth after the post-race track limits penalties were applied. He felt that he extracted all that he could from the car over the Sprint weekend. 

Alonso opted for an alternative strategy, and was one of a few drivers to start the race on hard tyres. However, the Virtual Safety Car brought out on lap fourteen meant that drawing out the stint wouldn’t be advantageous, and they rather chose to pit Alonso with the medium runners. Considering this as well as the new-found pace of Lando Norris’s McLaren, he felt that sixth was the best that could be done. 

“I think it was more or less the maximum we could achieve today. We were very close to Lando [Norris] in terms of pace and also the Mercedes. We tried something different by starting on Hards but then the VSC meant our advantage of going longer in the first stint wasn’t possible anymore.”

The Spanish driver added that the Red Bull Ring wasn’t a strong track for them in 2022 either, and that they might need to review the weekend to gain insight on this. 

Otherwise, Alonso was pleased with the haul of points in Austria overall, scoring fourteen points between the Sprint and main race. The team also made a step toward Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team in the Constructors’ Championship. 

“This circuit didn’t suit our car last year so maybe there is something for us to look into. Overall, we’ve scored a number of points over the Sprint weekend and we’ve made some ground on second position in the Constructors’ Championship. It’s a long season and we have our home race at Silverstone next week. It’s an incredible track so we will give it our all.” 

“It was a tough day today” – Lance Stroll

Team-mate Lance Stroll crossed the line in ninth place after what he described as a “tough day” at the Red Bull Ring, defined by a minor strategic slip that led him to lose crucial positions.

After reflecting on the race, Stroll admitted that they should have come in for tyres earlier in the Virtual Safety Car period, when the majority of drivers were. Since they held off on pitting until the second lap, the green flag was flown while he was still exiting the pits– which dropped him down the order quickly.

Stroll noted that the late call to pit was something the team will need to review so they can improve for future rounds. 

“It was a tough day today, but we still come away from the weekend with some decent points for the team. We slightly mistimed our stop under the VSC this afternoon and lost several places in the pits, and that decision dictated the strategy for the rest of our race.”

“In hindsight, we probably should have pitted during the first lap of the VSC rather than the second, so that’s something we’ll need to review and learn from.”

Aside from the strategy error, Stroll said that he enjoyed working his way back to the points, having been able to take part in several “fun” on-track battles. 

“I had a few good battles on track while fighting back through the field; taking [Yuki] Tsunoda at Turn Three was especially fun.”

Stroll is excited to compete at Silverstone Circuit for the upcoming British Grand Prix, being not only one of his favorite venues, but also Aston Martin’s home event.

“Our focus now shifts to Silverstone. It’s one of the best tracks on the calendar, so I’m looking forward to getting back out there in a few days’ time.”

Credit: Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team