Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, Interlagos, 2023

Alonso thought podium “was gone” when Perez passed him on penultimate lap

Formula 1

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Fernando Alonso admitted he thought his chances of finishing on the podium were over after Sergio Perez passed him for third place on the penultimate lap of the Brazilian Grand Prix.

But the Aston Martin driver fought back to reclaim the place as the final lap began and beat his rival to the finishing line by just five hundredths of a second.

Alonso held his place within the podium places for much of the race but came under attack from Perez after they made their final pit stops. “For me it was like 30 laps that I had the pressure from Checo,” he said.

As the penultimate lap began Perez passed Alonso in the DRS zone leading to turn one. Alonso tried to retake the place immediately but was rebuffed.

“When he passed me two laps to the end I thought okay, this is gone,” said Alonso. “The podium is not possible anymore.”

However a small error by Perez as the final lap began handed Alonso an opportunity to take the place back. “He braked a little bit late into one and I said okay, I go for it into four.”

With Lance Stroll finishing fifth, Aston Martin have ended a run of poor performances by scoring their best two-car finish since the Australian Grand Prix in April.

“This is a phenomenal result for the team,” said Alonso. “We’ve been struggling for a couple of months already, especially the last two events with two retirements. So this podium is for them, for everyone in the factory. We keep fighting until the last lap.”

The team’s downturn in form came after they introduced new parts to their car which did not perform as intended. They reverted to some older specification parts this weekend and took advantage of unusual conditions in qualifying to lock out the second row of the grid and pull off a badly needed result.

“Obviously we’re still learning about the car,” said Alonso. “These cars are so complex aerodynamically. So we’ve been experimenting a little bit to find the direction for next year without forgetting this year that we’re still competing so happy for the result and now to Vegas.”

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Keith Collantine
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22 comments on “Alonso thought podium “was gone” when Perez passed him on penultimate lap”

  1. ALO-MSC San Marino 2005.
    ALO-HAM Hungary 2021.

    OK, there were both brilliant, but those circuits were too hard to overtake at.

    ALO-PÉR São Paulo 2023.

    Against one of the best cars of the history, with two DRS and long straights (well, probably the easiest track to overtake at)… I’m lost for words with what he did on the last lap.

    1. Yeah, San Marino (Imola sorry) is as almost as hard to pass on as Monaco. But that was wild stuff all the same.

      1. And Fred had some sort of damage, something about the shifts, which I do not remember exactly, So defending from Schuey, even in a hard-to-overtake track such as Imola, was a memorable feat.

        1. melanos, the information given is that Alonso’s engine had slight damage from detonation problems in the previous race. However, when Renault studied the effects of that damage in detail, they decided that it wasn’t as critical an issue as they first thought.

          In the end, it didn’t actually impact Alonso that much in terms of performance – it meant he wasn’t able to use the more aggressive engine map settings, but could still use the standard engine map setting that Renault would use for a race.

          As an aside, Alonso himself has actually downplayed the 2005 Imola GP – he’s said that, due to the circuit layout, he was confident that Schumacher was never going to be able to pass him and that, from outside the car, it probably looked like more of a challenge than it actually was.

          It’s worth noting that, despite the speed advantage Schumacher had in that race, he only managed to overtake one driver on track – the other places he gained were either from pit strategy or from other drivers ahead of him breaking down.

          1. Funny, I was going to mention 99% of Imola overtakes are made during pit stops. Michael was amazingly fast during the over cut. I think that’s where a lot of the drama came from. Just how fast he had been. But like Monaco, Imola only allows for overtakes if someone makes a big mistake in the wrong sector. So, while it was transfixing, it wasn’t quite as dramatic as it looked.

  2. If Perez looses his seat next year you can be sure this pass will be shown as reporters talk about it.

  3. lol poor Checo, lap after lap everybody, including Christian for sure, was watching Fernando burning some kW between 2 and 3 and only Checo in the entire world didn’t realise

  4. Alonso is and always has been the real deal.

    On the one hand it’s great to see, but it’s hard not to also think of how few of the current generation is in his league… at age 42.

  5. It reminded me so much of San Marino 2005 – my heart was in my mouth then, when Alonso held Schumacher at bay, as it was now when he held Perez at bay. The only difference was that Perez did make it through but Alonso got that place back, on the outside! Unbelievable, how that happened! Certainly Alonso’s best drive to date.

    1. I watch that every 6-12 months. That was a wild one. Can you imagine the outcry from the British media if Hamilton had been stuck in 💩cars for 15 out of nearly 20 seasons?

      It’s sad how of the young generation, only Max seems to be of the same caliber as FA and LH.

      1. You only get a generational talent once or twice in a generation, I guess.
        We had Fangio Moss Clark Stewart Lauda Prost&Senna Schumacher Alonso&Hamilton Verstappen

        Actually it is more odd that we had Alonso and Hamilton at the same time. It is incredibly sad that they had so few title battles during all those years.

        1. Alonso and Räikkönen are probably the ‘generational duo’, and they were hyped up to be the next big thing in their earlier years following their simultaneous debut in 2001. Unfortunately for both, the second Schumacher left F1 the series saw the debut of not just Vettel but Hamilton as well, and they formed another duo of sorts.

          1. It wasn’t their talent (especially in Vettel’s case) that hampered Alonso. It was cars. And Raikkonen shouldn’t be mentioned in the same sentence as Alonso. As much as I love Kimi, Alonso was so much better and him more than tripling his points and shutting him out in quali showed as such. Alonso would have been a WDC in Kimi’s Lotus.

          2. I would not put Vettel or Raikkonen in that same elite group.
            Vettel is imho better placed in the league of f.e. Mansell. Crushingly dominant in the right circumstances, but not at the same level as their generational talents. (Based on less-than crushing performances vs. RIC, RAI, LEC and vs. PIQ, PRO, HIL, HAK)

            RAI is maybe more like Alesi. Lots of fans. Very impressive in sub-par machinery, but found out wanting later in their careers, suggesting that their earlier cars were maybe better than we thought they were.
            Alesi could also have had his title if he had joined Williams instead of Ferrari.

            This is all speaking in relative terms of course, I guess in absolute terms most of todays grid are better prepared and more complete athletes than the stars from the 80s.

  6. Long after the 2023 season is gone the two drives I will be remembering will be Carlos Sainz at Marina Bay and Fernando Alonso at Interlagos. And their nationality (or gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or whatever) has nothing to do with it.

    1. You’re part of the patriarchy! If Alonso was a woman, you wouldn’t be praising them! ; )

  7. Now that was a proper ding-dong battle. More please!

  8. f1statsfan (@)
    6th November 2023, 12:07

    Well Alonso has a lot of experience racing cars not just in F1 but other series as well.

    Only just noticed that Alonso was already racing in F1 a month before before Oscar Piastri was even born.
    Oscar born 6th of April 2001 while Alonso’s first F1 race was Australia 2001 on March 4th.

    Drawing from his 20,000 laps and 100,000km F1 race experience to keep Checo behind at the finish line.

    1. Alonso showed the exact same race craft early in his career. He’s just an unusually adaptive and intuitive driver. His work ethic is also legendary. Max has had a similar talent finding abnormal lines and was still just 19 when people were raving about that ability.

  9. It was a good race, no doubt. But was it one of his best drives? I don’t think so. The Aston Martin was decent, Stroll was even faster than Alonso for 3/4 of the race after he cleared the Hamilton train and Alonso is not the first one to have beaten Perez wheel to wheel this year.
    But I loved his fighting spirit after he had been passed.

    1. You mean 1/4? That happens when you’re in a fight.

    2. But I agree. He’s had about 150 better drives and many more dramatic ones.

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