Fernando Alonso’s Qatar GP Podium Makes His Own Proclamation Look Silly

Published 11/23/2021, 4:08 AM EST
Formula One F1 – Qatar Grand Prix – Losail International Circuit, Lusail, Qatar – November 21, 2021 Third placed Alpine’s Fernando Alonso celebrates on the podium with champagne REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani


When Fernando Alonso marched his way back into Formula 1 earlier this season, there were many questions mounting on the 2-time world champion over his capability to sustain his form, being one of the oldest drivers on the grid.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Let’s leave the critics out of it. Even Alonso wasn’t optimistic enough about Alpine holding the capacity to challenge for podiums. Hungary was indeed an exception, considering the top-runners were either already out of the race or stranded in the mid-field.

Esteban Ocon found the opportunity and went for it, securing his first-ever F1 victory and silencing the critics. The attention steadily turned towards Alonso, who was constantly missing out on podiums by a whisker. Patience was running thin for the Spaniard; it had been seven years since he had a taste of the champagne.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Qatar GP proves Alonso’s claim wrong

Alonso finally found the much-needed breakthrough in Qatar; the Alpine driver went on to clinch his first podium since 2014. And this particular podium even proved Alonso himself wrong amidst his recent statements, claiming only external factors and bizarre races can help a team like Alpine win podiums.

Formula One F1 – Qatar Grand Prix – Losail International Circuit, Lusail, Qatar – November 21, 2021 Alpine’s Fernando Alonso in action REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani

Although there was a tinge of luck playing in favor, Alonso earned the Qatar GP podium purely on merit. He snatched P2 from Pierre Gasly at the start of the race, gave up a position to Max Verstappen, and fought against the other Red Bull of Sergio Perez for the final podium position until the very end of the race.

Yes, the late pit-stop by Perez was a crucial point in the race; but let’s not forget, Alonso, with much fresher tires, was lapping over 0.3s quicker than the Mexican before the latter pitted for a set of medium tires. Hence, who knows, Alonso would still have challenged Perez for the podium had he not pitted for the second time.

What did Fernando Alonso say in Russia?

Ahead of the Russian GP, Alonso had acknowledged that Alpine would need a chaotic race to secure podiums. He further reckoned it was unrealistic to expect such top finishes in normal races.

Very far. I think we are the fifth or sixth-quickest team out there. So, for us to get the podium, we really need a very chaotic race. Without that I think by good performance, top six top seven is the maximum position. We did achieve that in few races this year, I’m happy with the consistency,” he said.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Formula One F1 – Qatar Grand Prix – Losail International Circuit, Lusail, Qatar – November 21, 2021 Third placed Alpine’s Fernando Alonso celebrates on the podium REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed/Pool

You need to be super lucky to get one podium. I was not so far. I don’t expect to be in the remaining races. If it comes, obviously we will welcome it but I think we need to work on realistic expectations.

Overall, these are promising signs for Alpine who might have just won the constructor’s battle against AlphaTauri. There is definitely more to come from Alonso; the Spaniard doesn’t look like a 40-year-old driver and is still oozing immense talent and aggression.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

So, are Alpine a team to watch out for, come 2022?

Watch Story: Road cars inspired from F1 technology

Enjoyed reading this article? Download our exclusive app to get 24x7 coverage, latest memes and social media banter. Click here to download.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

ADVERTISEMENT

Rohit Kumar

1413 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT