If there is a driver who has best interpreted the spirit of the Sprint Qualifying, it is undoubtedly Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard was the author of a first lap of applause that saw him recover from the eleventh starting square to the fifth, to then defend the position with his teeth from the attacks of the McLarens of Norris and Ricciardo.
With an Alpine clearly inferior to the two cars of the Woking team, Fernando was unable to escape, but in the final stages of the sprint race he fought like a lion against Sebastian Vettel managing to finish in seventh place and thus obtain the right to take the fourth row for Sunday’s race.
The two-time world champion appeared smiling and satisfied at the end of the Sprint Qualifying when he introduced himself to the press microphones and analyzed these 17 laps on Saturday which, according to him, seemed endless.
“I made an aggressive start which allowed me to recover from eleventh to fifth position. Then, unfortunately, I wasn’t fast enough and I had to let the McLarens pass and at that point I concentrated on the fight with Seb. Tomorrow I will start seventh, while if we had had a traditional qualifying I would have started eleventh. I think it went well ”.
“Starting with the reds was a risk. The first few corners were really exciting. These 17 laps may have seemed short to the spectators, but to me they seemed very long. I took some good risks at the start and surely if I had been fighting for the championship I would not have taken them because I would have had more to lose than to gain ”.
Fernando chose to gamble not having much to lose and faced the Sprint Qualifying with the red Pirellis. A decision that turned out to be a winner, even if in the end the rapid deterioration of the tires forced him to play in defense.
“In the end, the Pirelli soft tires were worn and I had to grit my teeth, but looking at tomorrow’s grid I made up some positions in this Q4. I call it that because for me it is another qualifying session ”.
One aspect that annoyed the two McLaren drivers and Vettel himself was Alonso’s behavior in the race. The Spaniard, in fact, often moved in a zigzag straight line to avoid those who followed him from taking advantage of the slipstream and overtaking it.
His pit wall warned him via radio not to repeat this maneuver and Fernando explained the reason for this behavior.
“Usually on tracks with long straights we suffer a lot. When we have a faster car behind us we cannot defend ourselves and sometimes it is almost more convenient to be overtaken rather than defend ourselves so as to avoid consuming the battery energy too soon ”.
At the end of this atypical Saturday for Formula 1, Alonso said he was satisfied with the new format.
Obviously the final result affects the evaluation of the Asturian, but according to Fernando it was offered a greater show and greater action to the public.
“I am promoting the Sprint Qualifying. Yesterday we saw a qualifying that provided the values we see every weekend, while today we added an extra by entrusting the riders with the task of taking risks, overtaking, fighting ”.
“We had three days of action on the track and we didn’t see three free practice sessions which are usually boring for the public.”