Pumped up at home in Barcelona, Fernando Alonso failed to satisfy his audience at the Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix.
The local hero had to settle for seventh place in an event dominated by none other than Max Verstappen who capped off a perfect weekend at the wheel of his Red Bull.
As for Lance Stroll, he managed to get ahead of his teammate at Aston Martin to show up in sixth place after another parade on Sunday where the debates were practically non-existent.
“We didn’t have enough speed today,” said the 24-year-old driver.
As a good teammate
Alonso was a good player since with about ten laps to go, he got within a second of the Montrealer without trying to destabilize him.
“Lance has nothing to worry about,” the 41-year-old veteran pilot said over the airwaves. It’s not worth taking unnecessary risks. »
Nevertheless, after overtaking Zhou Guanyu and Esteban Ocon on the 52nd of 66 laps, Alonso was going faster than Stroll. About two seconds of a second a lap.
“I had fresher tires than him,” explained Alonso, who eased off at the end of the race, while maintaining a gap with the Alpine d’Ocon behind him.
A good start
True to form, Stroll had a brilliant start. After starting from fifth place when the red lights went out, he slipped into third position taking advantage of a minor collision involving Lando Norris and Lewis Hamilton in front of him at the second corner.
But afterwards the tires on his single-seater deteriorated rapidly, he claimed, and he was unable to hold his position.
If Aston Martin was considered the second force on the board at the start of the season, it must now recognize that the threat from Mercedes is very real.
“I’m not surprised to see Mercedes come back like this,” said Alonso. His cars are fast and they are a concern for us. »
Behind the untouchable Verstappen, Hamilton, voted “driver of the day”, and his partner George Russell ranked second and third respectively. It is also the first time that the two Mercedes color bearers have met on the podium in 2023.
The German team also took the opportunity to steal second place from Aston Martin in the constructors’ standings (152 points to 134) at the end of this seventh stage of the season.
Verstappen scored the 40th victory of his career and is one step away from joining Brazilian legend Ayrton Senna for fifth all-time.
The Dutchman takes the lead in the drivers’ standings, he who holds a comfortable lead of 53 points ahead of Sergio Pérez, ranked fourth in Barcelona.
Verstappen could miss the next two events on the calendar and retain the championship lead even if his teammate takes the win and scores the fastest lap bonus point on each occasion. That says it all.
And now Montreal!
The F1 circus is heading to Montreal where the Canadian Grand Prix will be contested on June 18.
It now remains to wish for a better show on the track. We have certainly not been spoiled since the start of the season. The return to form of the Mercedes is perhaps a good omen for the future.
What if Hamilton showed his fine weather form at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve?
It’s a track where he not only won the first of his 103 victories (in 2007), but also where he won seven times.
►It’s good news to see Mercedes showing their teeth, but it’s worth mentioning that Hamilton did, however, concede 24 seconds to Verstappen when the checkered flag was waved in Barcelona.
►For a rare time, the 20 cars reached the finish on Sunday in Spain. Logan Sargeant was the last classified at the wheel of his Williams, one lap behind the winner. The American is one of only two drivers on the grid (along with Dutchman Nyck de Vries) not to have scored a point in 2023.