McLaren Explain Massive Headache Alonso Has Given Them With Blistering British GP Performance

Published 07/24/2021, 12:30 PM EDT
Formula One F1 – Steiermark Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Austria – June 24, 2021 Alpine’s Fernando Alonso walks the track ahead of Steiermark Grand Prix REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger


Since their renaissance in 2019, McLaren are enjoying one of their most successful F1 seasons this year. While they stand third in the constructor’s championship, Lando Norris has three podium finishes amidst the title fight between Mercedes and Red Bull.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

At the British Grand Prix, Norris and Ricciardo finished P5 and P6 in the inaugural sprint qualifying race. However, Fernando Alonso was a constant threat to the British outfit throughout the 100km race. Six days on, their F1 director Randy Singh spoke about the Spaniard’s influence on their strategies in Silverstone.

McLaren detail how Fernando Alonso used the soft tires well at the British Grand Prix

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Alonso endured a difficult qualifying session last Friday, finishing P11. While sprint qualifying allowed a free tire choice, all drivers except Valtteri Bottas went for medium tires. However, the Spaniard deviated from the top 10 and started the 100km race on the soft compound tires.

Despite the soft compounds having a shorter tire life than the mediums, Alonso made a stunning start on Saturday. The 39-year-old went straight to P7 in the opening lap and stayed there till the end of the race. In addition, he also troubled Norris and Ricciardo throughout the race, which left McLaren asking questions.

In their British Grand Prix debrief, Singh admitted it’s difficult to pinpoint whether it’s the tires or the driver’s skill that makes a difference. He said“It is very tricky to separate how much is tyre, and how much is car and driver. Did someone like Fernando have a good start because he had a Soft tyre fitted, or did he fit a Soft tyre because he has good starts and wanted to maximise the potential?”

While Alonso’s skill is unquestionable, there’s no doubt his tire choice certainly aided his weekend in Silverstone.

DIVE DEEPER

Fernando Alonso: The Luxurious Houses that he Owns

over 1 year ago

Singh: We decided sprint qualifying needed fresh tires

While 16 cars opted for medium tires in sprint qualifying, Singh explained why those tires were the ideal choice.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Formula One F1 – British Grand Prix – Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone, Britain – July 18, 2021 McLaren’s Lando Norris during the race REUTERS/Andrew Couldridge

He said, “There was a lot of planning that went into the weekend and one thing that we decided on was to make sure we had a new tyre with which to start the sprint, which in this case was a Medium. Strategically, it was fairly simple.

“Most of the other teams went the same way as us – though a few drivers tried the Soft.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

With the Hungarian Grand Prix coming up, McLaren will look to continue their impressive form this season. However, with Ferrari lurking behind them, the British outfit will have a challenge on their hands at the Hungaroring.

WATCH STORY: What Are Sprint Races & Where Will They Be Held?

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

ADVERTISEMENT

Sanket Nair

648 articles

Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management student, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT