Fernando Alonso Confesses to ‘Backing off’ in Bid to Beat Schumacher for Imola F1 Win

Published 04/17/2021, 6:05 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – Alpine’s Fernando Alonso arrives at the circuit ahead of the Grand Prix REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed


Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher were great rivals in the early 2000s. The former beat the latter to become the 2005 world champion. Recently, Alonso rewatched his Imola battle with Schumi that year and explained how he went slow on purpose to ensure that the seven-time world champion couldn’t make a move on him.

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Now, the Spaniard is preparing himself for the upcoming weekend at the same track. In the first practice session on Friday, Alonso finished seventh on the timesheet with a 1:17.457. Then, in FP2, he finished thirteen place.

The Alpine driver will be hoping to have a better result on Sunday, as he had a disappointing return to F1 in Bahrain. He will do his best to extract the most out of the car and aim to score his first points of the season.

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Fernando Alonso looks back at his epic battle with Schumacher at Imola

On Formula One’s YouTube channel, remembering his battle with Michael, Alonso said, I do remember also these three or four laps. We had a couple of people in front of us, so the blue flags were out. And I thought that was maybe a chance for Michael, if I was too close to the car in front and losing some downforce. 

“So I was backing off in some of the corners, that I knew that he couldn’t pass me like the last two. And I tried to open the space again with the guy in front. So we kept those two seconds with Webber I think he was in front of us. And I think that was only possible in Imola,” he concluded.

The Spaniard is excited about the high paced race at Imola with modern F1 cars

The two-time champion is excited about his return to the Italian circuit after all these years. He believes that the race will be full of action as they zip around the circuit.

He said, “This circuit is amazing in the modern Formula 1 cars; very narrow, very fast and when you have cars around it is quite tricky and quite narrow to let the people go, to overtake the guys on the out lap and the in lap, and that adrenaline is building up in the lap.”

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Formula One F1 – Pre-Season Testing – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – March 14, 2021 Alpine’s Fernando Alonso in action during testing REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

“I’m happy with the progress, all the new parts seemed to work ,and we need to make further analysis, but we are quite optimistic that we made a step forward in terms of performance. Let’s see what we can do tomorrow,” Alonso concluded.

We are just hours away from the action-packed, high-intensity qualifying session. Alpine hope they can find the pace around the track and hope to score their first points of the season.

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Arpit Gomes

631 articles

Arpit Gomes is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Currently pursuing his Journalism degree from Xavier’s Institute, he is a big fan of McLaren and their driver Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo. Arpit always looks forward to the paddock moving to Spa and drivers dealing with the exciting Eau Rouge corner as well the straight at Monza.

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