Alonso hails opening lap of F1 sprint as “one of the best” of his career

Fernando Alonso believes his opening lap run from 11th to fifth during Formula 1’s first-ever sprint qualifying race at Silverstone was “one of the best” of his career.
Fernando Alonso (ESP) Alpine F1 Team A521.
Fernando Alonso (ESP) Alpine F1 Team A521.

Starting from 11th on the grid, Alonso was one of just four drivers to start on the red-marked soft tyres.

The Spaniard carved his way past six cars on the opening lap to move up to fifth.

Alonso didn’t have the pace to hold on, dropping behind the McLaren duo and thus will start seventh in Sunday’s British Grand Prix.

The two-time champion has consistently been an impressive starter throughout his career, even this season, gaining four places after the red flag restart in Azerbaijan earlier in the season.

Despite having several outstanding opening laps to his name in F1, Alonso reckons the one at Silverstone was one of his best.

“Yeah I think the first lap was one of the best [of my career],” Alonso said. “I know there are a lot of first laps before, they are understood, like good ones… especially in the Renault days, with very good starts. But this one, not only into Turn 1, it was Turn 3, Turn 4, 6, 9 it was a more complete lap.

“Tomorrow, I don’t know. I think it’s going to be a long race. We saw today, blisters for many people already in 17 laps. Tomorrow it’s going to be a long race for everybody, quite warm as well. In a normal qualifying we were 11th, so we start 7th. I’m not sure we’re the 7th fastest, I expect a difficult race. Let’s see, I’ll see what we can do to keep attacking.”

Explaining how he cut through the field, Alonso said: “I think the first lap was a combination of things. The start was better than Carlos especially because he was not too different compared to Sebastian and other cars. Carlos was made the start, Sebastian was made in Turn 1.

“Then it was quite high-risk manoeuvres, one was with the McLaren and Perez in Turn 4. Perez again in Turn 6, Norris in Turn 9. I guess if you are fighting for the championship I will not make those manoeuvres because there is more to lose than to gain. But we are in a position where we can take more risks and benefit from the red tyre first lap performance.”

With Carlos Sainz and Sergio Perez starting behind Alonso on the grid, he expects it to be difficult to hang onto a top ten finish on Sunday.

“Yeah it was good. It was enjoyable, the first lap, from P11 to P5, which is not a normal first lap,” Alonso added. “Then yeah, we were maybe a bit out of position because we were not the fifth quickest out there. We had to fight a little bit with the McLarens. We gave up that fight in a way, they were too fast.

“We concentrated on Sebastian and P7 is better than P11, that’s what we achieved yesterday. We take that, but feet on the ground, we still have a very long race in front of us, cars behind us. We have the Ferrari, we have Sebastian, Checo, the points will be hard to take anyway.”

Read More