Alpine baffled by disappointing race pace of A522 at Monza

© XPB 

Alpine left Monza empty handed after a pointless run in the Italian Grand Prix and with the team baffled by its disappointing race pace relative to championship rival McLaren.

While Fernando Alonso battled Lando Norris for position for over half of the race, a suspected water leak forced the Spaniard into retirement.

But teammate Esteban Ocon was unable to pick up the baton and put points on the board for the Enstone squad, the Frenchman concluding his afternoon at Monza just outside the top-ten.

Alpine sporting director Alan Permane was at a loss to understand why its car's strong race pace, as displayed on the opening day of running at the Temple of Speed, had simply disappeared.

"Fernando ran the medium tyre [on Friday] and thought it was fantastic," said Permane, quoted by RaceFans. . "He was quick, I think he was lapping mid-’26s with full tanks.

"So we’ve got some work to do to try and understand what went wrong.

"We genuinely struggled for pace. We struggled in qualifying, both drivers said they made mistakes, which is uncharacteristic so clearly the car was difficult to drive."

Although Alonso was able to match Norris' pace in the first part of the race, it's unlikely the Spaniard would have had the measure of his rival had he not retired.

"We couldn’t stay with Norris once they got into clean air," said Permane.

"There was a bit of a ding-dong, we overtook them, they overtook us and that sort of thing. And had [Alonso] not stopped, we were predicting that he would have finished just behind him.

"So for a race that wasn’t going that well for us we’d have been next."

Alpine's shortfall relative to McLaren at Monza was mitigated by Daniel Ricciardo's retirement, but the six points collected by Norris for finishing P7 have allowed the papaya squad to reduce its deficit to its rival to 18 points in the Constructors' standings.

Alpine's tally remains unchanged at 125 points while McLaren now has 107 points, meaning the fierce battle for fourth in the championship is still tight between the two teams with six races to go.

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