Alonso hunted down and passed compatriot Sainz on the penultimate lap of Sunday’s race at Zandvoort to snatch sixth away from the Ferrari driver.

It followed a close shave for the double world champion shortly before at Turn 3 that was missed by the TV cameras.

During his bid to catch Sainz, Alonso locked up at the banked Turn 3 and narrowly avoided hitting the barriers on the outside.

“It was a very stressful moment, for sure,” Alonso explained. “I had a go at Carlos into Turn 1 on the inside.

“I thought I was making the move and in the last moment, he released the brakes and he braked even later, so we nearly touched already into Turn 1.

“Then into Turn 3, I was too close. I locked the fronts a little bit and I run wider than normal outside the circuit. But obviously there are like two metres from the banking to the wall.

“I was like 10 centimetres or something from the wall with both front tyres locked up. It’s not that I did anything magic there, it was just pure luck because I was not in control of the car. So I got lucky there.”

Alonso’s late charge past Sainz came after an incredible start saw him gain places on the opening lap by taking a wider line through the opening sequence of corners.

The Spaniard described his hectic first lap, which featured a near-miss with Alpine teammate Esteban Ocon and Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovianzzi.

“The plan was to go on the outside [at Turn 1] because I was on the clean side of the grid,” he said. “I wanted to have a straight start, not much movement and try to go on the outside of Turn 1.

“But Giovinazzi thought the same plan, I guess, so he was on the outside and blocking a little bit my idea. So after that, I had to improvise a little bit into Turn 2 and Turn 3. There were a lot of cars, I was even in the grass at one point.

“In Turn 3 I chose to run on the outside and I kept a good momentum on it. But Carlos was in the middle in a way, so I had to brake the exit of Turn 3. It didn’t help.

“But then Giovinazzi and Carlos were fighting until up until Turn 7 and I could squeeze one position there.”