Fernando Alonso expands on the tricks he had in his pocket when passing Lewis Hamilton and Carlos Sainz in F1 Bahrain GP.
Before securing the podium place, Aston Martin’s Alonso had to go through a small bump from teammate Lance Stroll at Turn 4 at the opening lap when trying to get ahead of the two Mercedes cars against whom he lost at the start of F1 Bahrain GP.
Having qualified ahead of both, Alonso found himself in seventh. He passed George Russell in the initial period and played the long game for the other two. After the retirement of Charles Leclerc, it became the fight for podium which further boosted him.
On a slightly fresher tyre, Alonso first had Hamilton to get through. He tried a move at Turn 1 and got through, but the Brit came back to pass him at Turn 4. He waited a lap and took him on at Turn 10 with a cheeky move on the inside when Hamilton left the door open.
It wasn’t the corner where too many passes happen but Alonso had to do it to overcome the straightline deficit. He tried the same with Sainz. At Turn 4 there was a slight touch, but by Turn 11, he was through, even though the Ferrari driver closed the door on the inside.
Alonso had too much pace on the straight due to tyre difference to pass Sainz. The Aston Martin certainly enjoyed those passes, while the latter two had fun even though they lost out. Regarding the Turn 4, the Spaniard knows the problem but he won’t share.
Fights with Hamilton and Sainz –
Alonso: “I obviously did enjoy them because I ended-up in front. That’s always the same thing in any battle. But yeah, we say it’s always the same, but when you fight at the front, with these great drivers, great champions, it is more intense, more adrenaline when you are wheel to wheel. So yeah, I didn’t want to have any mistake, or any contact because obviously when you are P12, you lose nothing, but this time we were fighting for big things. And yeah, I was happy. And the car was very nice to drive. That was probably our strength, all through testing. And this weekend, even though the race felt very long, the last 10 laps, because I wanted to see the chequered flag and being on the podium, the car was very good to drive and I could have driven for another hour or something, just alone on track.”
More on the how the moves came about –
Alonso: “I think we were not very fast on the straight. So, eventually you normally pass into Turn 1 or into Turn 4. And I think I pass Lewis into Turn 10 and Carlos into Turn 11. So not the normal places, because we could not match their straight-line speed. So, yeah, we had to make some moves in the corners before Turn 10 and Turn 11 and change trajectory, and then get the overtake done, I think to Lewis was more playing a surprise move there, because no one overtakes into Turn 10, let’s say. And then with Carlos, it was close into Turn 10 again, he closed the door, and then I have a better exit into Turn 11. But, yeah, we need to see that because obviously, we will love to pass just on the main straight like everyone does.”
Snaps at Turn 4 –
Alonso: “I think we know what is causing that, but I will keep it for me. We’re still working. As I said, the car is very new. We need to learn more from the car, I need to get used to the car. So those moments were more coming from me getting used to the car, getting used to the driving input, feedback from the steering wheel and power assistance. So things that they are not 100% tailormade yet.”
The other side –
Fight against Alonso –
Hamilton: “Yes, it was fun for a moment. He was in a different league at the time, performance-wise, as you saw because he pulled away so much but I enjoyed the little tussle that we had and I knew he was going to come by due to the way he caught me.”
Sainz: “It was a nice battle. It nearly unfortunately cost me a position to Lewis also because in our car as soon as you push a bit to defend from Fernando, you cook the tyres. It’s problem that we have too much deg, the tyres get too hot when we start pushing. It means we don’t have a lot of margin in the race.
Contact made at Turn 4:
Sainz: “I felt it from behind but to be honest, I think it was a nice clean battle. It was just a little touch. Always good fun but in the end the time put us where we are right now that is behind Aston in the race and clearly behind Red Bull.”
Here’s the fight between Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton: https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/video.2023-bahrain-grand-prix-alonso-slips-past-hamilton-after-thrilling-battle-between-old-rivals.1759546177496238425.html
Here’s Fernando Alonso against Carlos Sainz: https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/video.2023-bahrain-grand-prix-alonso-battles-his-way-past-sainz-into-podium-position.1759546323535583641.html
Here’s Fernando Alonso against George Russell: https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/video.2023-bahrain-grand-prix-alonso-fights-his-way-up-to-p5-after-wheel-to-wheel-battle-with-russell.1759542462983943333.html
Here’s how F1 Bahrain GP panned out