Why Alonso Deserved F1 Driver of the Day Award Over Norris at Russian GP

Published 09/26/2021, 12:38 PM EDT
Formula One F1 – Russian Grand Prix – Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia – September 23, 2021 Alpine’s Fernando Alonso ahead of the Russian GP REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov


Lando Norris certainly had a commendable afternoon at Russian GP only for his poor late gamble to destruct all of his efforts. Hence, despite finishing the race down in P7, the ‘Driver of the Day’ award dropped into his hands. But, the only question is, does Fernando Alonso deserve the award instead?

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Well, looks like it. While the attention was mostly on Norris and the ultimate race winner, Lewis Hamilton, Alonso was pulling off a masterclass of his own. But, at the end, similar to Norris, the Alpine driver, too, fell prey to the changing weather.

How the race panned out for Fernando Alonso

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The Spaniard started the Russian GP from P5 and had a decent getaway too. However, Alonso ran wide into turn 2 and was forced to go through the narrow section of bollards before rejoining the track around turn 3. In the process of abiding by the protocol, Alonso had to give up positions to Hamilton.

He soon lost his P7 to Sergio Perez. But, his race wasn’t over as yet. Alonso enjoyed a strong 37-lap stint on the hard tires before pitting for a fresh set of mediums. And from there on, the 2-time world champion was unstoppable, and with the car coming lively, Alonso was, at one point, lapping as fast as Hamilton.

Formula One F1 – Russian Grand Prix – Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia – September 26, 2021 Alpine’s Fernando Alonso during the race REUTERS/Anton Vaganov

Alonso crept his way up to P5 and made stunning moves on Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo to reach P5 by lap 48. He was then chasing after Carlos Sainz, who had just lost his place to Sergio Perez. Soon, the rain arrived, and Alonso overtook both Sainz and Perez to claim P3.

But, Alpine opted to pit Alonso a lap late as opposed to the others behind him. There ended his hopes of fighting for a podium. Had Alpine pulled Alonso into the pits a lap early, there is no denying that the Spaniard could have secured his first podium since his Ferrari days.

Alonso reckons he deserved the podium at Russian GP

Following the race, Alonso opined that he could have gained the Russian GP podium on merit, unlike Verstappen and Sainz.

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I think today we did a very good race. We could keep up with Perez in the first stint. And after the pit stop, we did overtake Verstappen even at one point. So, the car was flying today, and when it started raining, we overtook, Ricciardo, Perez, and Sainz and we were P3,” he said.

Formula One F1 – Russian Grand Prix – Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia – September 24, 2021 McLaren’s Lando Norris and Alpine’s Fernando Alonso in action during practice REUTERS/Anton Vaganov

I really thought that the first podium was possible today, on merit, not luck, by pure pace.

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Overall, we’ve spelled out the reason why Alonso is deserving enough for the DOTD. However, let’s hear it from you! Who do you believe should have received the award?

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Rohit Kumar

1253 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.

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