Fernando Alonso secured his best result of his comeback season to Formula 1 in Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, with the Spaniard taking an excellent sixth place at the Baku City Circuit.
The Alpine F1 Team racer was involved in the battle for points throughout the race, but the late race red flag and restart gave him the opportunity to make up places, which he did by making a superb start. Ultimately, Alonso moved up from the back end of the top ten to run seventh after just one turn, before passing Yuki Tsunoda on the outside of turn five to claim sixth.
However, despite his late race progress, Alonso feels the team will need to address the shortfall in pace the A521 showed in race conditions.
“I am happy for the team that we took some good points from this weekend, I felt we deserved it after a challenging weekend,” said Alonso. “The final laps were a lot of fun and we tried to attack and be aggressive to recover some places.
“The weekend was quite solid for us, but we did lack a little bit of pace during the race. So we need to review that but I am happy with the day in the end and we’ll look to take this forward into France.”
“I didn’t seem to catch a break here” – Esteban Ocon
Team-mate Esteban Ocon was out of luck in Azerbaijan, with the Frenchman the first retirement of the race after his A521 suffered a mechanical failure on just the fourth lap.
Ocon had been running ahead of both McLaren F1 Team drivers when he suffered a loss of power, which meant an early bath for the Frenchman, who has often found bad luck when racing in Baku. He has only finished one of his three races in Azerbaijan.
“I didn’t seem to catch a break here, it’s very tricky obviously and we had a pressure loss and had to retire the car very early on,” said Ocon. “We had a good start and I was in front of both McLarens and fighting with those around us.
“I was doing my race and it was going well and the pace was there for the top ten, which Fernando showed in the end.”
Ocon’s attention now turns to his home Grand Prix in France, and he cannot wait for the opportunity to race at the Circuit Paul Ricard later this month.
“It was not our weekend, that’s clear, but we will turn the page and look forward to the next one, the French Grand Prix,” said the Frenchman. “It’s going to be an awesome one for me, I can’t wait to race there again.”