Alonso: Impressive Brazilian GP charge not as good as Mexico

© XPB 

Fernando Alonso says his spirited charge in Brazil from a lowly P17 on the grid to fifth at the checkered flag was a good race, but not one as well executed as in Mexico recently.

Alonso more than made up for his messy Sprint event on Saturday, when two run-ins with Alpine teammate Esteban Ocon drew the ire of team boss Otmar Szafnauer and left both drivers with their work cut out for them on Sunday.

Ocon and Alonso launched their race from P16 and P17, but it was in the Spaniard's second stint on the medium tyre that he came into his own and skillfully progressed through the field into the top ten.

After the second safety car period, with eleven laps to go, Alonso made good use of a fresh set of soft tyres to overhaul his teammate and settle behind Ferrari's Charles Leclerc in fifth position.


It was an impressive recovery drive, yet the two-time world champion felt that his execution had been better two weeks earlier in Mexico City despite registering an engine failure and a DNF on that occasion.

"I think the best race was Mexico," he said in Sao Paulo. "I didn’t finish the race I know, but execution-wise I was happier with Mexico than today."

Nevertheless, Alonso acknowledged that his race at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace had overall been a good one.

"[It was] a very good race for us," he admitted. "We chose a three-stop strategy so we were out of sync with most of the cars.

"At the end, the last Safety Car reshuffled the race a little bit. I had newer tyres and I could have some fun at the end, overtaking Checo, fighting with Charles.

"With McLaren out of the race, a lot of points of Alpine today."

Indeed, Alpine now leads McLaren by a comfortable 19 points in the Constructors' championship with one race to go.

After Saturday's Sprint, Alonso had been critical of Ocon's defensive driving in the race and held the Frenchman accountable for their contact on the main straight that ruined the Spaniard's race.

The stewards disagreed however and slapped the two-time world champion with a five-second penalty. But twenty-four hours and one race later, Alonso had changed his stance on the incident although he still viewed the penalty as excessive.

"Yesterday was what it was," he said. "I accept the one on the straight, I think the penalty was extremely harsh.

"We had exactly the same accident in Portimao with Kimi [Raikkonen] and [Antonio] Giovinazzi [in 2021], and nothing happened. When you don’t damage the car… OK I take the penalty, take the blame for that."

Despite the setback, Alonso said that Sunday's race proved once again that one should never give up on securing a good result.

“The race is on Sunday, anything can happen as we saw today," he said. "In two years, we had one mistake, it was yesterday.

"It has been two years clean, some first laps we had some fights but because we start always together, we qualify very close.

"In two years, we had one contact. Today we recovered everything we did yesterday. We try to do the best for the team."

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter