Aggressive Alonso plans to stay on F1's “dark side”

Fernando Alonso says he plans to stay on the “dark side” for the rest of 2021 after an aggressive performance in Formula 1’s first sprint event at Silverstone.

Aggressive Alonso plans to stay on F1's “dark side”

Alonso opted for soft tyres for the start of the 17-lap contest, and in a stunning first lap he jumped from 11th on the grid to fifth place.

He then defended hard, initially from Lando Norris, and then Daniel Ricciardo, earning complaints about weaving from the McLaren team.

After both McLaren drivers passed him he successfully held off Sebastian Vettel to secure seventh place at the flag, with a net gain of four places on his qualifying result. At one stage his engineer passed on a warning about alleged movement in the braking area.

When asked by Motorsport.com about that warning message, Alonso said he was "surprised" to receive it.

“I never moved under braking, I was moving at the beginning of the straight," he said. “But I don't care, to be honest. I've been on the other side for now nine races. So, you know, it's gonna be the same for the remainder of the year. I will be in the dark side. This time...”

Asked if he hoped to have another productive first lap in Sunday’s Grand Prix, he promised that he will stay aggressive.

"Yes, I will try. The guys in front, they are fighting for bigger things than us. So we will be aggressive. We've been aggressive in the last three or four races. In Baku it was a two-lap race, and we recovered many places.

“In Paul Ricard and in Austria we recovered a lot of places, but they overtook us outside of the circuit on lap one with no penalties. Here it seems a little bit more difficult. So let's see if we can recover places tomorrow, and everyone stays on track.”

Fernando Alonso, Alpine A521, Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M

Fernando Alonso, Alpine A521, Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

The Spaniard agreed with suggestions that his first lap charge had been among the best of his long F1 career.

“Yeah, I think the first lap was one of the best," he explained. "I know there are a lot of first lap performances that are understood like good ones, especially in the Renault days with a very good start. But this one it was not only the start into Turn One, it was Turn Three, Four, Six, Nine. So it was a more complete lap.”

Elaborating on where he made up ground, he said: “I think the first lap was a combination of things. The start was better than Carlos especially. It was not too different compared to Sebastian and some other cars. So Carlos was made in the start.

“And then Sebastian was made in Turn One. And then it was some quite some high risk manoeuvres. One was with the McLaren and Perez in Turn Four. Then Perez again in Turn Six, Norris in Turn Nine.

“I guess if I was fighting for the championship, I will not make those manoeuvres, because there is more to lose than to gain. But we are in a position that we can take maybe more risk, and benefit also from the red tyre first lap performance."

Read Also:

Alonso conceded that it won’t be easy to hang onto seventh in Sunday’s Grand Prix.

“We saw today blisters for many people already in 17 laps, so tomorrow is going to a long race for everybody," he said. "Quite warm tomorrow as well. In a normal qualifying, we were 11th. We start seventh, I'm not sure that we are the seventh fastest.

"I expect a difficult race but let's see what we can do, and we will keep attacking.”

shares
comments

Related video

The successes and warning signs from F1's first sprint race

Previous article

The successes and warning signs from F1's first sprint race

Next article

Grand Prix results: Verstappen wins F1 sprint for British GP pole

Grand Prix results: Verstappen wins F1 sprint for British GP pole
Load comments
The signs that point to F1's rude health Prime

The signs that point to F1's rude health

OPINION: Formula 1's calendar might still be facing disruption as the pandemic affects travel but, says Mark Gallagher, the business itself is fundamentally strong thanks to the epic rivalry taking place on track and the consistent arrival of new sponsors.

The unexpected benefit of F1's sprint race repeat Prime

The unexpected benefit of F1's sprint race repeat

OPINION: Formula 1's sprint race trial at Silverstone drew mixed feedback on Saturday, but there remained the true test of how it would impact Sunday's Grand Prix. While fans were busy marvelling at Fernando Alonso's progress, a key lesson was being learned that would directly contribute to the dramatic lap-one clash at Copse the following day

Formula 1
Jul 22, 2021
The off-track considerations that led to Hamilton/Verstappen F1 shunt Prime

The off-track considerations that led to Hamilton/Verstappen F1 shunt

OPINION: Formula 1’s 2021 title fight turned ugly last weekend when Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton collided at the start of the British Grand Prix. Verstappen thankfully walked away unharmed, but this had been a clash long-since coming.

Formula 1
Jul 21, 2021
British Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

British Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2021 British Grand Prix will live long in the memory for the dramatic clash between Formula 1's two title protagonists, which opened the door for other drivers to capitalise. One did so in spectacular fashion, while others fluffed their lines

Formula 1
Jul 19, 2021
How Leclerc almost defied Hamilton after Silverstone clash Prime

How Leclerc almost defied Hamilton after Silverstone clash

A poor start for Valtteri Bottas and the lap one clash between Formula 1's 2021 title protagonists gave Charles Leclerc a surprise lead in the British Grand Prix that he almost held to the end. Here's how the Ferrari driver came close to a famous victory, ultimately denied by a recovering Lewis Hamilton three laps from home

Formula 1
Jul 19, 2021
The signs that suggest Mercedes can win at Silverstone Prime

The signs that suggest Mercedes can win at Silverstone

Red Bull and Max Verstappen scored an early blow against Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes at Silverstone, with sprint qualifying race victory. But that doesn’t mean Sunday’s grand prix is a foregone conclusion. Although Verstappen starts as the favourite, here’s why Mercedes still holds hope of winning

Formula 1
Jul 18, 2021
Uncovering Silverstone's engineering secrets for F1 success Prime

Uncovering Silverstone's engineering secrets for F1 success

Formula 1 returns to Silverstone this weekend, but despite its familiarity to all the teams it is no picnic. Here are five of the key points for engineers to consider prior to the British Grand Prix.

Formula 1
Jul 16, 2021
The 'special relationship' Ferrari will hope to exploit at Silverstone Prime

The 'special relationship' Ferrari will hope to exploit at Silverstone

Ferrari might have snubbed the very first world championship race on British soil but the Scuderia and the UK went on to enjoy some deep connections. As BEN EDWARDS explains, theirs is a shared history that is waiting for its next chapter to be written...

Formula 1
Jul 15, 2021