Fernando Alonso, Alpine, Sochi Autodrom, 2021

Alonso expects to slip from sixth to his car’s “natural position” in race

2021 Russian Grand Prix

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Fernando Alonso predicts it will be challenging to finish as high as he has qualified for today’s Russian Grand Prix.

Alonso will start from sixth on the grid, but is wary that several potentially quicker cars will line up behind his Alpine. They include seventh-placed Valtteri Bottas, ninth-placed Sergio Perez and even Max Verstappen, who is due to line up at the back of the grid.

“Bottas is starting behind – that will be very difficult to keep behind,” said Alonso. “Verstappen will come to us in the race as we saw in Monza Bottas started last and finished on the podium. So I think Verstappen will do the same type of things.

“Checo is P9 as well. So we know that we are P6, but rapidly this can be P9 or P8.”

The leading trio on the grid – McLaren’s Lando Norris, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jnr and Williams’ George Russell – can also expect stiff competition from the usual pace-setters, said Alonso.

“That’s the the same comment, I guess, for the guys in front. We know that before [long] in the race you finish in your natural position. So we are aware of that.”

However, Alonso said Alpine’s main target was to keep ahead of their direct rival teams in the constructors’ championship, rather than to compete with faster cars.

“We are ready to fight and try to score points. Our main targets are Aston Martin and AlphaTauri for the remaining of the year for the constructors’.

“We start in front of them and we want to finish in front of them. There are other competitors that maybe are not in our race.”

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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...
Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...

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2 comments on “Alonso expects to slip from sixth to his car’s “natural position” in race”

  1. Super qualifying by the old fox

  2. With his Amazing starts, I wouldn’t be surprised if he even gains some positions at the end of lap 1

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