Saturday, April 20, 2024

Fernando Alonso: “There was no chance to win today – wet or dry”

Fernando Alonso secured his best result of the 2023 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season on Sunday, with the Spaniard taking second place behind Max Verstappen in a tricky Monaco Grand Prix.

The Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula 1 Team driver finished where he started at the Circuit de Monaco, but a late race rain shower made life difficult for all drivers, and Alonso was caught out by the conditions after pitting for dry weather tyres just a lap before it was clear that intermediate tyres were needed.

Alonso says the decision to remain on dry tyres had felt the right one on the lap he entered the pits for the first time, but the rain intensified enough to warrant a second trip to the pit lane a lap later to put on the intermediate tyres.

Even with the additional pit stop, Alonso does not feel he was in with a chance of fighting against Verstappen for the victory on Sunday, but he was delighted to have secured the best finish of the season for both himself and Aston Martin.

“I’m really happy with this result,” said Alonso.  “The race was not easy – and the rain made it difficult for everybody, and very risky strategically.

“I don’t think the extra stop [first Mediums, then Intermediates] affected the result. It’s always hard to read the race fully from the cockpit, but on the lap I stopped, the track was completely dry apart from Turns Seven and Eight – so why fit Inters, especially when it felt like a small shower and we had plenty of margin behind us?

“So it was the right decision, and extra safe: but a minute and a half later it was a completely different situation! There was no chance to win today – wet or dry, but we raced aggressively and tried to win it.

“We were hoping Max [Verstappen] would suffer greater degradation on the Mediums, but he did 50 laps at an amazing pace. But we’re getting closer – let’s not forget that. Now to Spain!”

“I think I hit the wall about five times out there” – Lance Stroll

Whereas Alonso was on form in Monaco, the same could not be said for team-mate Lance Stroll, who on Saturday found himself out of Qualifying at the second hurdle whilst on Sunday he was the first retirement after hitting the wall on multiple occasions when the rain began to fall.

Stroll had acquired damage on his AMR23 on the opening lap on Sunday but was able to make some early progress up the field, and was complaining about his brakes even before the rain started to fall.

The rain made things worse, and he ended up hitting the barriers at the hairpin that brought an end to his mediocre weekend in the principality.

“In all honesty, this wasn’t a race to remember,” said Stroll.  “The first lap was pretty eventful – a lot of crashing; a lot of carbon-fibre flying everywhere!

“Those clashes left the car with a fair amount of damage but I was still able to have a go at some of the cars in front. And I pulled off a couple of passes, which was fun.

“But I was struggling a little to get the car slowed down even before the rain; then when it started raining the brake issues meant I just couldn’t stop the car. I think I hit the wall about five times out there, but it just wasn’t my day.

“Congratulations to Fernando for an excellent result – I’ll be aiming for a points finish at Barcelona next weekend. I’m already looking forward to Spain.”

Lance Stroll retired from the Monaco Grand Prix – Credit: Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula 1 Team