Alonso thought he had chance to win Hungarian Grand Prix

2021 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Fernando Alonso thought he had a chance to win, or at least score a podium, during Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

His team mate Esteban Ocon won the race while Alonso took the chequered flag in fifth place.

However Alonso said his speed immediately following his final pit stop gave him hope of passing the cars ahead to win. He was following Lewis Hamilton, Carlos Sainz Jnr, Sebastian Vettel and leader Ocon at the time.

“I was catching Carlos and Hamilton quite quickly,” said Alonso. “I was setting the fastest laps in the race and I thought I will overtake them and I would try to win the race. That was my mind in that moment.

“Then I start realising that maybe winning the race was not possible and overtaking Hamilton and Sainz was the target for sure.”

The race situation changed when Hamilton pitted, dropping behind Alonso but closing on the Alpine with fresher tyres. “Hamilton pitted so it was only Sainz separating myself to the podium,” said Alonso. “So I thought, okay, I will go for it and the podium is a real possibility.

“Then there was not enough pace, on the straight especially, the straight-line speed was lacking to pass Carlos out of the last corner. So I started thinking at that time that if I was right behind Carlos with the DRS I could protect myself and just finish fourth.”

Even that proved impossible, however, as Hamilton eventually found a way past Alonso, leaving him fifth.

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“Every battle that I had with Lewis, I was losing the DRS with Carlos because I was defending it,” he explained. “So it was just a fight of trying to keep the fourth, but it was not enough.

“But yes, I was thinking in the podium and even the race for a moment, so I was very optimistic. Too optimistic!”

Alonso was praised by his team for holding Hamilton at bay for 10 laps, delaying his pursuit of Ocon, and helping him win the race. But Alonso said Alpine did not tell him how important it was for their victory hopes that he hold Hamilton up.

“The team didn’t tell me anything,” said Alonso. “I knew more or less what the situation of the race was.

“I was looking at the big screens. I knew that Esteban and Vettel were fighting and they were like two corners in front of us. And with 20 laps to the end and Lewis coming two or three seconds faster, that was enough to win the race, probably. So I knew that every lap I could hold him behind that was gold for Esteban’s win.”

Alonso doubted he would be able to keep Hamilton behind for long at first. “I thought honestly that I could not hold him more than one or two laps.

“But on the last couple of corners, he seemed to struggle a little bit to follow me and then it was enough to open a gap on the straight and defend. I think he learned a couple of different lines in the last three corners after the 10 laps behind me and he was able to pass Carlos just in one lap applying those new lines.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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26 comments on “Alonso thought he had chance to win Hungarian Grand Prix”

  1. Alonso showed a very strong pace in the race. I think he’ll lag behind Sainz, but no.

  2. Very glad you didn’t twist the quotes like other publications have done with “Alonso teaching Hamilton new lines” and the sort.

  3. Can’t help but think he lost his chance at what would now be third fighting with Hamilton for so long

    Absolutely the right choice for the team though as it kept Hamilton from having enough time to reach the leaders, and we got to see some of the best driving ever as fans

  4. Alonso demonstrating to Lewis that Max is not being overly aggressive. ‘It is what we all do every week Lewis. You are just not around, cruising in front’

    1. Other way around I think, Alonso demonstrating to Max how to deal with an aggressive driver.

      1. Not forgetting that Max help Hamilton up in exactly the same way for 48 laps in 2019 before Hamilton went for the second pitstop.

    2. Lewis demonstrating to Max that backing out sometimes is a good thing for the bigger picture.

      1. Sam Random and Emma – Spot On!
        The other two as usual don’t know what they are talking about.
        It was artistry watching Lewis and Alonso fight it out so cleanly.
        Max does not have that mindset.
        Max will be taken out many many times going forward because LeClerc and the rest are going to call his bluff and repeatedly take out that piece of Bull that was purpose built for him.
        Actually he could easily win without intimidation because he is so good but his thuggish mentality will be his undoing.

    3. lol you’re all wrong. Alonso teaching both Lewis and Max, hell everyone on the grid and fans at home! on how to race hard but fair. Look at the drivers’ histories to see those that came together often. Its how these younger guys are. Hate on Alonso all you want but hes never really taken anyone out except for himself. The rest of the grid? Always crashing into another. I would put RIC up there with Alonso on racecraft and racing hard but fair.

  5. Jeffrey Powell
    3rd August 2021, 8:53

    Alonso is a hugely skilled driver probably on a par with Hamilton,(I refer doubters to the 2007 championship), on a circuit like Hungary passing Alonso driving a reasonably competitive car without causing another incident was always only going to happen with an error from Alonso. Suggesting Lewis is not as skilled because he is used to cruising around in front can only come from commentators only recently following F1 or wearing orange blinkers. For information my first race attendance 1968 British GP.

    1. Rosberg commented live the moment when Hamilton realized he shouldn’t be following Alonso’s line through the last corner to avoid the dirty air, and the same was described by Alonso after the race. Nothing great about taking so long to figure out basic stuff like that. Either he doesn’t know about this kind of racecraft (unlikely), or he’s rusty from cruising up front and not really having had to fight hard for positions for years which seems the more likely explanation.

      1. He needed to keep his brakes cool @balue but that won’t fir the narrative I suppose.

        Further, a little look at the equal cars battles back in the day. LH simply drove round NR every time like he was not even there. Wet dry did not matter. Not once in four years did the opposite occur. NR has not only never driven the 2017/19 cars (a totally different beast to the 14-16 cars at 5-8s a lap faster) and while informative, I suspect is behind the times on what five further generations of Pirelli tyres 35% wider and heavier than he raced, actually require at a hot Monaco without yachts type circuit.

        You know where he started at the front, Hamilton started in the pits, on a wet track, after yet another failure without todays warm up lap and still beat him…

        1. @drgraham How sweet to drag up some old Rosberg stories, bless. You Hamilton fans are so predictable it’s not even funny.

        2. Whatever you do don’t mention that Ham got past as Alonso made a mistake and locked up whilst not under immediate threat by in their minds, a very poor overtaker. You’ll only upset them.

      2. “Hamilton realized he shouldn’t be following Alonso’s line through the last corner to avoid the dirty air, and the same was described by Alonso after the race.”

        If you look back at previous Hungary races, Hamilton has always took a narrower line through the last 2 corners, got nothing to do with Alonso/race craft/dirty air, in fact Hamilton generally takes direct lines through corners making them more of a V line than a C, this has been a noticeable aspect of his driving since 2007.

      3. How many F1 overtakes do you have under your belt Balue?

        1. Lol. What a comment.

    2. I think both Max and Alonso have shown by now to be better skilled than Lewis. He struggles despite his overall car advantage. Then again, it is no wonder since Max and Alonso practice every week, whereas Lewis didnt have any real fighting for years. Of course occasionally Lewis had his fights but that stands in pale comparison to the number of overtakes the others had to do. And the others did it in relatively equal cars, whereas Hamilton always enjoyed some overspeed (except on his team mate, but ever since Bottas came in, that has been solved too)

      1. Is that the same Alonso in a very fast ferrari that couldn’t pass Petrov in a renault in the 2010 Abu Dhabi race and lost the championship that year or are we talking about a different Alonso?
        Go figure…

        1. I doubt Mayrton had started watching F1 by then given he must be a kid. He probably thinks Lewis joined F1 in 2014.

        2. Like Lewis, who, in a faster Mclaren was stuck behind Kubica, or was that a different Lewis? “Very fast Ferrari”?, One of the main reasons both Lewis and Alonso struggled to pass was, Renault used new engines in their cars which were faster than Ferrari. Combine this with the characteristics of the circuit where overtaking isn’t easy with NO DRS.

      2. No offense, but Alonso can’t even beat Ocon in the same car. I want some of that you’re smoking. lol

  6. I thought that maybe if he pitted a bit later he mightve caught up with Sainz with enough time to overtake and get third.

    Surprised that Alpine didnt mention anything to him, and good awareness from him

  7. Alonso proved he still has it and is maybe even faster than ever. No doubt he’d destroy Hamilton in the same team.

    Ham has become lazy and lost most of his race craft with such a dominant car.

    1. Lol

      He can’t even beat Ocon in the same car.

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