“Cheeky” Fernando Alonso praised for bold bid to steal extra point from Mercedes

"He wouldn’t have been awarded the point. But he would have made sure that Mercedes didn’t get it!"

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Aston Martin F1 Team. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 7, Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Imola, Italy,
Fernando Alonso (ESP) Aston Martin F1 Team. Formula 1 World Championship,…

Fernando Alonso was praised for his attempt to block Mercedes from gaining a point for the fastest lap at the F1 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix.

Ultimately, Alonso failed in his audacious bid and George Russell pocketed a bonus point for Mercedes at Imola.

The driver who records the fastest lap at an F1 grand prix - irrespective of their finishing position - banks one bonus point for the drivers’ standings and for their team in the constructors’ championship.

A dreadful weekend for Aston Martin’s Alonso was nearly salvaged with a last-gasp attempt to thwart Mercedes.

Russell, who finished in P6, was on course to set the fastest lap.

Ted Kravitz reported for Sky Sports from the Imola paddock: “Alonso, the cheeky guy that he is, pitted with two laps remaining to try to steal the point away from Mercedes, for the fastest lap.

“Fernando put the soft tyre on. He wouldn’t have been awarded the point.

“But he would have made sure that Mercedes didn’t get it!

“Considering Aston Martin and Mercedes are next to each other in the constructors’ table at the moment, even though they are separated by 30 points.

“Fernando and Aston thought: ‘You never know what’s going to happen, we might end up in a constructors’ fight with Mercedes where one point is important, so let’s box, put a soft tyre on, nick it off them so Mercedes don’t get it!’

“Which is just brilliant, it is brilliant, both from Fernando and Aston Martin…

“Unfortunately for Alonso he messed up his two laps where he had the chance to get the fastest lap.

“The fastest lap remained with Russell.”

Alonso was restricted to P19 at Imola after a weekend to forget.

He crashed during practice on Saturday and, although his car was fixed to take part in qualifying, his luck was not rebuilt.

Alonso was in the gravel during Q1 and finished 20th, promoted one position by Logan Sargeant’s deleted lap.

His weekend largely ruined already, Alonso started the grand prix from the pitlane so that Aston Martin could carry out some late set-up changes.

The grand prix was used predominantly as an extended test session for him.

Aston Martin had brought upgrades to Imola.

Alonso was asked afterwards about what he learned from the AMR24: “We need to wait and see all the data that we gathered today and ask the team what they saw [that was] different between the two cars.

“We opted to set-up different in my car and, yeah, let’s see if we found a direction for the next few races.

“It was a tough weekend, obviously qualifying dictates everything here.

“It will be the same in Monaco, so we need to do that perfect Saturday that obviously makes things easier for Sunday.”

Teammate Lance Stroll claimed points, after starting from 13th and ending in P9.

“We were hoping for a Safety Car and so we were staying out a very long time, and then at the end it was fun to pass some guys,” Stroll said.

Stroll added about learning how to utilise the new upgrades: “I think so, I hope so. We’re not as competitive as we want to be right now, we’ve got to keep pushing.”

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