Fernando Alonso says that he enjoyed driving around the Suzuka International Racing Course even though he was restricted to finishing down in fourteenth position in a car he felt was ‘too slow’ all weekend.
The McLaren F1 Team racer enjoyed the first lap as he battled with his rivals through the opening sequence of turns, while the final laps were also exciting for the Spaniard as he made some late position gains against drivers on older tyres.
“In spite of the poor result, I did enjoy driving around this track today,” said Alonso. “The first lap was quite good and intense, and in the Esses especially we were overtaking each other inside and outside and we recovered a few places.
“In the last couple of laps there was also a good battle with the Williams and [Marcus] Ericsson who were struggling on old tyres, so we had to fight a little bit. Even though we were too slow all weekend, in the end it was an enjoyable race.”
Alonso was confused by the penalty handed to him early in the race when he was deemed to have gained an advantage by running across the grass at the Casio Chicane after being hit by Lance Stroll, who informed him after the race he did not see him.
“Unfortunately, the five-second penalty I received in the first part of the race dropped me down several positions,” said the Spaniard.
“It wasn’t a big drama, because we were out of the points anyway, but it’s difficult to understand the stewards’ decision as I had nowhere to go but off the track when Lance [Stroll] came across not having seen me, as he said.”
Alonso says the penalty shows just how bad the consistency is when it comes to race stewarding within Formula 1, especially as Stroll made the point to come up to him to apologise after the race.
“Even when the driver comes to apologise I think it’s difficult to understand the decision but you know, this is how bad Formula 1 is,” Alonso is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com. “In the decisions, in the randomness, in the pure consistency.
“You are braking on the outside at the last corner, and one guy didn’t see you and came here to apologise after you go on the gravel, and you get the penalty. It’s a shame.
“He didn’t see me. If he sees you and pushes you on the grass it’s another thing, but it was just an unfortunate situation in a race situation. It doesn’t change much because instead of fourteenth maybe you finish twelfth, but it’s the way it is.”