Fernando Alonso's tactics during Q1 for the 2022 F1 Azerbaijan GP did not go unnoticed in the paddock. The Spaniard was called out by Williams driver Alex Albon for intentionally going into the escape road to bring out the yellow flags in the dying stages of Q1 (so that no one can improve their lap times).
On the F1 Nation podcast, Damon Hill claimed that Alonso was playing some tricks that day and some of it does come down to the Spaniard being a very clever individual. The Briton said:
“I like him. He’s so cunning. He’s a clever [guy], Alex Albon called him an incredibly smart guy, because he was up to games in qualifying. He was definitely up to his old tricks, but we kind of have a sneaky admiration for the trickster, the guy who somehow can play everything to his own advantage, and he does it with a little cheeky smile as well.”
The 1996 F1 champion, however, felt that Alonso's actions were not a bother, saying:
“And he performs; it’s not like he’s being a nuisance and not delivering. He’s delivering, and he delivers for Alpine. I’d rather have him in [the team] than outside and doing the same to you.”
Fernando Alonso's politics are a detriment to his getting a seat on top teams
Even as a 40-year-old, Fernando Alonso is performing at a very high level in Alpine, which Damon Hill acknowledges. He also claimed that if the Spaniard gets a seat at one of the top teams, he will continue to win. The major impediment to that happening, however, is Alonso's age as well as his tendency to get involved in the politics and running of the team.
“Exhaustion doesn’t seem to have set in, or a lack of enthusiasm [for Fernando Alonso]. If you said to him now, ‘We’ve got one more crack at the front end’, he jumps at it, he’d be there and he’d probably win. The problem is, for a top team, how long is he going to be there for, and how much carnage will there be once he starts to – which he tends to do – get involved in the running of the company and the politics of it?”
Alonso is in the last year of his contract at Alpine. With the Spaniard already making his intentions clear of wanting to continue for a few more years, it remains to be seen which direction his career will take next.