Home Sport F1: Fernando Alonso rises to the podium of Losail

F1: Fernando Alonso rises to the podium of Losail

F1: Fernando Alonso rises to the podium of Losail

The Alpine leader, after draining the life of his tires, resists Prez’s attacks and returns seven years later to the drawer. A resounding victory for Hamilton, ahead of Verstappen.

Alonso, on Sunday, aboard the A521 in Losail.REUTERS
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In 25 laps to the limit, under the latent threat of a blowout, Fernando Alonso tie up a podium that tastes of glory in Losail. Stretching the life of your hard tire under pressure from Sergio Prez, the Asturian reached the goal only behind Lewis hamilton and a Max verstappen that I never found a way to discuss the hegemony of the Mercedes leader. In this exciting definition of the World Cup, with just six points of margin, the battle for the title finds in Alonso a luxury entertainer. Seven years later, since that distant 2014 Hungarian GP, ​​the two-time champion has once again bathed in champagne.

It is well worth forgetting so many past troubles, because in the end it all came together for Fernando, chosen as the best driver on Sunday by the fans. The double sanction on Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas, known shortly before the start, had propelled him to third place on the grid, from where Alpine drew up a strategy that was as conservative as it was effective. Although the speed of the A521 could hardly oppose that of the squires of Mercedes and Red Bull, Alonso responded with the best of his repertoire, rolling at a brutal pace in his first relay and holding it, in the dangerous curbs of Losail.

In addition, he counted on that enemy fortune so many times, that it appeared in the form of the last virtual safety car when Prez launched his last attack. With two turns to go, that accident of Nicholas latifi with the Williams it was the last oxygen cylinder. All the recognition also for its mechanics, impeccable in the only passage through the pits, there on lap 22. On an unprecedented track, where everyone started almost with a blindfold, Alonso recorded his teacher. At 39, he is still one of the top piloting elite.

From the start, from the clean zone, he had attacked mercilessly in the second corner, with a double maneuver with which he made Verstappen bite the dust and marked a spectacular exterior in front of Pierre Gasly. By cons, Carlos Sainz could not shake off the bad vibes of his last outings and returned to stay nailed in the studs, giving up two places before Esteban Ocon and Verstappen. Every Sunday in Madrid, crammed into the traffic of the middle zone, passed between the anodyne. At least seventh at the finish, just ahead of Charles Leclerc, allows Ferrari to extend the lead over McLaren.

Hamilton, needless to say, led without opposition, as if waiting for news of what was to come from behind. The difficulties in overtaking were soon confirmed, with only one specific point: the end of the finish line. Right there Verstappen got rid of Gasly, who padded his way, and Alonso, also aware of the limitations of his Alpine. In any case, no matter how hard he pushed, Red Bull couldn’t keep up with Mercedes.

Without squeezing the tires, Hamilton’s lead had grown to seven seconds when Verstappen stepped into the garage to mount the hard tires. Not to be outdone, the Silver Arrows traced the strategy just a minute later. James vowles, his top strategist, already knew with all the aces up his sleeve, so he decided to Valtteri Bottas, who had given up five positions in the first round. “If you pass those cars you’re going to fight for third place,” I overtook the Finn.

From Alpine, of course, their progression was observed with suspicion. Also that of Sergio Prez, spurred on by difficulties and terribly accurate. Before going through the pits, on the fifteenth lap, he was able to shake off, at the end of the straight, Ocon, Sainz and Lando norris. Little or nothing could Alonso oppose to the speed of Red Bull. He just pushed the life of his soft tires to the limit, with which he marked fabulous times until lap 22.

With the hard tire, the battle against Prez will soon be resolved in favor of Checo. After halfway through the race, there were still legitimate doubts about what to do to reach the podium. Some were cleared by the jab of Bottas, the victim of razor-sharp shoulders. A rival less in contention for Alpine, who must make a critical decision with Alonso. Or rather confirm it.

As they had devised from the beginning, the Asturian’s podium should be sustained with a single stop, stretching his hard footwear to the limit. Everything was then in the hands of Fernando, who stopped the clock with unusual regularity. The 98 podium of his career was the reward for a magnificent performance.

Reference from elmundo