Fernando Alonso has revealed that he did fight with Lance Stroll for track position at the Spanish Grand Prix to avoid damaging his Aston Martin.
Alonso damaged the floor of his car in qualifying and started the race on Sunday, June 4, in the ninth position. After mostly having an incident-free time on the track, he pitted late for hard tyres and then overtook Zhou Guanyu, Yuki Tsunoda, and Esteban Ocon to catch teammate Stroll, who was in sixth place.
Despite having less than a two-second gap to Stroll, Alonso told his team on the radio that he wouldn't attack the Canadian, crossing the chequered flag a second after Stroll.
Speaking to the media after the race, Alonso explained that he didn't want to take risks by attacking Stroll in the final laps as he didn't want to damage 'another' floor.
“It was 10 laps to the end, I had a little bit fresher tyres – but like one or two tenths faster than him, no more than that. I will not get crazy. I damaged one floor yesterday, I didn’t want to damage another one today, or he damages the floor or anything just try to secure the place,” he said. (via RaceFans)
“For us it’s the same: sixth and seventh, and seventh and sixth,” he added. “I regret yesterday my mistake [in qualifying]. I thought all night if I could rewind and go again in qualifying, things will be different. That I cannot do, so I can only think now in Canada and I will use that motivation for a good weekend in Canada.”
“We didn’t have the pace” - Fernando Alonso on Mercedes overtaking Aston Martin in the Driver's Championship
Having started the 2023 season in strong fashion, Aston Martin scored 'only' 14 points in Barcelona, their lowest at a Grand Prix this year. It allowed Mercedes to displace them from the second spot in the Constructors' Championship.
Fernando Alonso admitted that Aston Martin were not fast enough in Spain, which allowed the upgraded Mercedes to clinch a double podium. He also stated that his team managed to beat Ferrari only because the Prancing Horse scored points through just one driver.
“I think we didn’t have the pace, that was the biggest problem. It was not that we were unlucky or different strategies, or anything like that. We were slow compared to Mercedes, slow on the soft, slow on the hard and we just concentrated on the Alpines, AlphaTauris and keep up the pace with the Ferraris,” he said.
“At the end I think we out-scored the Ferraris this weekend because they only scored with Carlos [Sainz Jnr] and we lost points with Mercedes. But they have done a better job this weekend, so let’s try next one,” he added.