Fernando Alonso, Alpine, Silverstone, 2021

Alonso happy to race “on the dark side” despite defending complaints

2021 British Grand Prix

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Fernando Alonso says he has no concerns about being “on the dark side” after rivals accused him of moving under braking during the sprint qualifying race.

Lando Norris asked his McLaren team to report Alonso to race control for what he felt was the Alpine driver illegally moving in the braking zone during their battle over fifth place.

While Alonso received a warning from race director Michael Masi, he believes he was not defending in an unreasonable way.

“I was surprised,” Alonso says. “I never move under braking. I was moving at the beginning of the straight.

“But I don’t care, to be honest. I have been on the other side for now, nine races. It’s going to be the same for the remaining of the year. I will be on the dark side this time.”

Alonso was the standout performer from F1’s inaugural sprint qualifying event, moving up six places from his grid position to six in fifth place after a remarkable opening lap on his way to securing seventh on the grid for the British Grand Prix.

“I think the first lap was one of my best,” says Alonso. “I know there are a lot of first laps before now that are considered good ones – especially in the Renault days with very good starts – but this one was not only the start into turn one, it was turn three, turn four, six, nine. So it was a more complete lap.

“I guess if you are fighting for the championship, I will not make those manoeuvres because there is more to lose than to gain. But we are in a position that we can take maybe more risk and benefit also from the red tyres’ first lap performance.

“We were maybe a little bit out of position because we were not the fifth-quickest out there and then we had to fight a little bit with the McLarens. Then we gave up the fight, in a way, because they were too fast and we concentrated with Sebastian and P7 is better than P11, which is what we achieved yesterday.”

Despite being the biggest beneficiary of Sprint Qualifying, Alonso is playing down his team’s chances of scoring good points in the most important race of the weekend.

“I think it’s going to be a long race,” he said. “Feet on the ground, we still have a very long race in front of us – fast cars behind us. We have the Ferrari, we have Sebastian [Vettel], we have Checo [Sergio Perez]. So the points would be hard to take anyway.”

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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14 comments on “Alonso happy to race “on the dark side” despite defending complaints”

  1. He was spectacular. First lap was as if he was racing against GP2.

  2. The tow is so strong they’re having to weave otherwise it’s almost as if they’re just expected to give up their positions when the guy behind gets close.

    If weaving on the straights breaks that tow then what other option is there?

    He wasn’t being dangerous.

    1. An other option is not to wave. The do not spit oil beind themselves either and do not throw grenades at other cars.

      1. Don’t give Liberty any ideas!

        1. LOL! We heard it here first.

  3. RocketTankski
    18th July 2021, 9:39

    Choose your character..
    Darkside Alonso
    “Hah! You think you can defeat me?”

  4. This guy is still a force to be reckoned with, one of the greatest drivers of all time. He’s been the main rival of so many world champions, usually with inferior machinery too.

  5. Two years without him was such a long wait! He’s one of those few drivers pulling out something special at about every Grand Prix, in the likes of Hamilton and Verstappen. I’m so happy he’s back, and even more happy he still got it. Absolute masterclass.

  6. It was spectacular.

    The biggest flaw of the Sprint race is the rewards are not logical.
    Should Verstappen be awarded anything else aside of starting from the 1st box in the grid? I don’t think so, as well as Hamilton an Bottas, all with a mediocre performance (what Bottas did in Turn 1 should deduct him the point he earned!).

    Instead, the FIA should focus on what they want: increase the appeal of the sprint race for the fans, more overtakes, more risks, big winners (Alonso) and big losers (Perez), as well as damage-diminishers (Sainz).
    GIVE THE POINTS to the guys that have the more brilliant sprint races: the more you overtake, the more points you earn.

    1. @sugoi Whilst I agree that points should be awarded to the top 3 in the sprint, It just widens the championship points between the best cars and the rest, I cant agree to awarding points to those who overtake the most. It just benefits those front running/faster cars who qualify out of position.

      1. @sugoi *edit*…points should NOT be awarded to the top three…

  7. F1’s dark side versus SW’s.

  8. It was Alonso who brought most of the excitement to yesterday’s race. I don’t think it would have given a very good first impression of the sprint race format if they had penalised him.

    It’s a real shame Alonso does not have more WDCs to his name. He’s been a colossal presence in F1 over the years and should have more to show for it.

  9. peter j mcnaught
    18th July 2021, 13:40

    I agree with K ( who ever that is !!) Sprint race is a jolly good idea to determine the final grid placings, but that should be the reward. No need to award points as well. That is a silly frill !!!!

    Reply moderated

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