Canada Grand Prix 2022
The Saturday star also shone on Sunday. But not in the way Fernando Alonso imagined. The second on the grid slipped to ninth place. Everything conspired against the Spaniard. Finally there was a penalty.
The sun only shone for Fernando Alonso for 22 laps. This is how long, if ever, the greatest driver in the field can dream of a podium. Alonso wasn’t expecting more than fifth before the start. Which he corrected to third or fourth place during the race. But with the second on the net, 70 laps went very wrong.
It all started when his team missed the two VSC stages in Sessions 9 and 19 non-stop. Either way, this would have reduced the time lost when changing tires by nine seconds. Alpine did not accept the first gift “because we assumed it was going to be an all-out race and we didn’t want to stop twice,” said team boss Otmar Szafnauer. If you want to go the distance with a tire change, you have to keep going until at least lap 25.
The second VSC was unlucky. “When the VSC banner was displayed, I was across the house. And when I wanted to stop a course later, it was gone again.” So the veteran had to stroke his tires until lap 28 to live up to the original plan.
Esteban Ocon has shown the cost of Alonso’s unfortunate timing. The Frenchman was clearly behind his teammate in the early stages and was allowed to trail below VSC speed on lap 19 and finished sixth, ahead of Alonso.
Engine trouble costs three tenths per rev
The moment Alonso lost third to Lewis Hamilton, he knew he could finally write off the podium. Its engine lost power. A leak in the pneumatic system made the remaining 50 laps a nail judge. Although the problem cost about three tenths of a lap, Alonso was still able to catch the duo of Ocon and Leclerc in front of him after changing his tire. He just lacked the speed to overtake.
In the final stages, with Alfa Romeo trailing behind Ocon and Alonso, the Spaniard needed the help of his teammate. Ocon lifted his foot for gas to donate to DRS II in the Alps. Only that was protecting Alonso from his atheists.
“If Esteban had accelerated, he would have been ten seconds away from the others,” says Szafnauer. That is why the team did not react to Alonso’s request to change places at the end, as he was the much faster driver throughout the weekend. “It would have been fifth and sixth for us. Only with the risk that both of us would overtake us.”
Five seconds of Alonso’s penalty
The big finish came after crossing the finish line. Alonso was called up to the hosts after a complaint from Alfa Romeo. On the penultimate lap, he unfairly defended himself against Valtteri Bottas on the long straight line between the hairpin and the end of the chicane. Alpine trails with starting number 14 were changed a total of four times.
Alonso cleverly defended himself in front of the stewards, arguing that he had changed lanes once, as permitted, apparently forcing Bottas to take his foot off the gas. All the other wavy lines make no sense to the race results. Bottas is no longer near him.
After studying the video recordings, the sports commissioners could not get used to filming an alpine pilot. They handed the qualifying star a five-second penalty kick. Just like they got Lance Stroll at the Australian Grand Prix when he did the same for Bottas. Safnawar supported his driver’s “unjustified punishment.”
As a result, Alonso lost two places to Valtteri Bottas and Juanio Cho. For the second time after Miami, the subsequent penalty cost the former world champion points. Alpine only got ten points instead of 14. Less than the French camp had hoped for given the excellent spots in the network. Alonso was upset: “Today we deserved more than ninth.”
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