Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Baku City Circuit, 2018

Seventh an unbelievable result with “destroyed” car – Alonso

2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Fernando Alonso described the Azerbaijan Grand Prix as one of his best races after salvaging seventh place with a damaged car.

The McLaren driver collided with Sergey Sirotkin at the start of the race and suffered heavy damage. According to Alonso the team was unsure whether he would be able to continue.

“In the lap one incident we destroyed the car,” he said. “Two punctures, we damaged the floor, we damaged the front wing, we damaged everything.”

His car was “not turning to the left” as he returned to the pit lane. “I thought it was a DNF [did not finish].

“But because there was a Safety Car on the track we kept running with significant damage on the car. And we found ourselves for whatever reason very competitive and overtaking cars so we stay in the race.

“P7 is an unbelievable result, probably one of the best races I ever done.”

Alonso said some of his rivals need to be more restrained on the first lap of races.

“For me it could be managed in a different way,” he said. “The first lap when you are starting in the middle of the group the people don’t lift off.

“When you are in a situation where you will crash they prefer to crash with you than lifting off. There were three cars closing and no one lift off, I was on the inside and I took two flat tyres.”

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Keith Collantine
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  • 44 comments on “Seventh an unbelievable result with “destroyed” car – Alonso”

    1. I would have liked to see the start from Hulkenberg’s angle, but to me, it looked as if he turned left into Sirotkin unnecessarily. If so, I would have thought that that would have warranted a grid drop from Spain, as I would class that as “dangerous driving”. Grosjean got a race ban for something similar in 2012, and Vettel got a lot of stick and blame as well for Singapore.

      1. @mashiat I think what happened from Sirotkin’s onboard is Hulk was up against the wall, Sirotkin was being squeezed between him and Alonso, then Sirotkin’s right front made contact with Hulk’s left rear, which made Hulk’s car veer to the left across the track.
        cc: This

        1. @hugh11
          And Sirotkin will take a grid penalty for something that was beyond his control. Farcical, isn’t it?

          1. He did not get it for this incident, he got it for driving into the back of Perez

            1. Oh, is that so? Guess I was wrong, sorry.

            2. Which is so dumb, perez and sirotkin kept driving… What the hell?

            3. @ kpcart
              That’s irrelevant. Mostly. They don’t want that kind of behaviour, as it’s potentially extremely dangerous, so they penalise it.

    2. It took incredible skill to get that car back to the pits, let alone finish the race, let alone score such good points!

      I’m not a fan of Alonso’s constant personal PR after every race… but it’s hard not to agree with him in most cases and particularly here.

      1. Alonso hates talking to the media, but he’s grown to give them the headlines they fish for whilst he is waiting for a car miracle.
        Full context of driver interviews would be nice. They are forced into a sheep’s pen after the race, often facing silly questions, they don’t call their own Press Conferences.

    3. Quite of few cars with only 3 wheels parked their cars. Then here comes Alonso, dragging frame, sparks flying. I couldn’t believe he was crawling to the pits on two wheels.

      1. Johnny Five
        1st May 2018, 13:01

        If the McLaren/Renault thing doesn’t work out, there’s a future for Nando in MotoGP.

    4. This is why I voted FA for dotw, even if it was more about Sunday.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        1st May 2018, 13:51

        @Robbie A great choice for sure! Alonso deserves a better car and possibly a better team – I’m watching the McLaren documentary from 2017 on Netflix (just on episode 2) and their team look like investment bankers.

        I can kinda see why drivers (Perez, Magnussen, Vandoorne) have such a hard time there – I could never work there and my performance would go south rather than north.

        1. I’m watching the McLaren documentary from 2017 on Netflix (just on episode 2)

          @freelittlebirds – the bad thing about that documentary is that it ends very soon (savour it, if you’re on ep 2) and when it ends you end up wanting more.

        2. @freelittlebirds Interesting. Haven’t seen any of the doc yet.

    5. Such shame he saved so many of his best races for gp2 engines and destroyed cars, oh well

      1. FlatSix (@)
        1st May 2018, 15:45

        @johnmilk But luckily he’s not driving a Mercedes, if he was with all these ‘best races of my career’ he’d be winning everything, and scoring second too!

        1. @flatsix Sadly he probably would. It’s like watching a parallel universe, Alonso producing ‘best ever’ drives and winning these virtual championships. Not meant entirely ironically.

    6. Alonso is such a legend, only 2 world championships to his name, but will likely be remembered as a better driver than vettel or Hamilton, who one of will
      Have 5 championships at end of this season.

    7. Fernando Alonso is an incredible F1 driver.

      Fernando Alonso’s constant self praise, not rarely combined with the criticizing of others, is unbearable.
      I do think it takes a little bit away from his driving.

      1. @magon4

        What else have you been reading and watching to get to know Alonso outside of the media pen?
        Maybe the problem is yours for letting yourself be fed by those hungry journalists? Also the drivers are often still on a high or downer when they are interviewed after races.

        Stoffel Vandoorne & Fernando Alonso Post-Race Comments | 2018 Australian Grand Prix
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KyTKsVr5ZM

        Fernando Alonso congratulates Hamilton
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oqv_zlzkrzM&t=1s

        Fernando Alonso takes McLaren boss Zak Brown for a spin
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYYPgrapGU0&t=1s

        Fernando Alonso’s 7 Tips for Young Drivers
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2CdOeIB3O7k&t=235s

        1. Hey Joseph @bigjoe,
          I’ve been watching and following the sport very closely since the end of the 80s, and rarely have I seen talent like Fernando.

          All drivers have adrenalin after the races, and I know Fernando can be a nice and cool guy. On the other hand, he takes his legacy in the sport very seriously and sometimes, in my view (you are, of course, entitled to your view), overdoes it. It doesn’t happen once or twice, it is systematic and I find that off-putting.

          I won’t put the links here, and I am aware that he can be a very nice guy. But that aspect really bugs me.

          1. @magon4

            Well the is the latest post race interview and I can’t see anything wrong with it, or anything wrong with him at all.

            It’s in Spanish and he said ‘probably the best race for a long time

            even if it wasnt he’s obviously on a massive hight getting points in that car. He also called it a ‘miracle’ he got the car back.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5DPy8d7n9g

        2. in other words,
          let others praise you.

          they do it without involving other people or even drivers.

          1. @magon4 I agree. I’m a big fan of Alonso but I’ve lost track of how “best races of my career” comments there has been in previous 6 years or so.

            1. @tonyyeb
              Once again the fans get mislead by the headlines!

              Alonso getting bashed for his ‘best races comments’?
              yet in the interview he actually said “Maybe” and ” probably”
              this is not abnormal he was into the media pen without even talking to his team or looking at his car, obviously on a high and he really wasnt bigging himself up much at all.

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5DPy8d7n9g

            2. @bigjoe Yeah he said ‘maybe’ and ‘probably’ before. It’s still self promotion. Bet he’s got a performance clause in his contract and he is flexing that muscle, awaiting for a better deal or move to a different team.

          2. @magon4 Generally, yes, but I’d allow Alonso some slack given that many would have walked away by now, a 2-time champion knowing he has the talent and application to achieve much more, but has faced year after year of frustration at two teams who have massively underperformed while he’s been there. True, maybe you could say there’s some karma involved for 2007 and 2008 still, but if so, the karma sounds harsh.

            1. I agree with you guys and am very glad he is still on the grid; I even hope McLaren can really improve and put him in the battle for race wins, it would be great for F1.

              I just would wish he wouldn’t feel the need to promote himself so much, and, once again, I think he could sometimes keep one or the other opinion to himself instead of disrespecting others.

              But he is great and F1 wouldnt be the same without him.

            2. Where’s Palmer?

          3. Hey try giving that advice to Muhammad Ali. The world would be a better place. Oh wait.. it wouldn’t. Not everyone lives by your rules or guidelines.. they are drivers so we could try judging them on driving.

          4. It ain’t bragging if you can back it up.

      2. @magon4 I feel the same way and it is especially annoying because everyone, who pays close attention to F1, should have little doubt that Alonso is one of the very best and the fact that he drives for a mediocre team does not change that. Everyone can compare Alonso’s results with Vandoorne’s (who is obviously still learning but very highly regarded nevertheless) and draw conclusions. I could understand why e.g. Grosjean would want to praise himself, point out his strengths as he is fighting for his career and people might have legitimate questions over his driving ability right now. But Alonso clearly does not need to do that.

        (By the way, the same goes for those RF commentators, who are here just to defend / praise one of the top drivers, be it Hamilton, Vettel or Alonso. Every serious F1 fan knows very well that these are the best drivers of their era. Attempts to “prove it” are simply pathetic.)

        Perhaps that is indeed just the way Alonso has chosen to speak to the media for whatever reason or maybe his comments are directed at a different audience; not the people, who regularly watch F1 races.

        1. I don’t know about that, @girts. Fernando believes he is in the top level, together with Lewis. He doesn’t regard Sebastian as equal at all. It doesn’t matter if it is right or wrong from his or any perspective, but he really shouldn’t say these things towards him or sometimes other drivers.
          I remember the 2012 end of season race in Brazil. Fernando had been on selfpromotion mode the whole season, as you just said, without reason, since everyone saw what he was doing. But to be so down on that Ferrari (and actually to completely exaggerate its lack of performance) in interviews even after the last race and the title decided was a low blow, in my view. In 2010, he took it hard, too. But in 2012, it was just simply an incredible lack of sportsmanship to not simply congratulate the champion, at that point.
          The bad thing in my view is that it didn’t prove to be an exception, either. Which would be understandable, given the circumstances.

    8. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      1st May 2018, 17:11

      It’s just heartbreaking now. One of the greatest of all times scrambling for points, 6 years since a (reasonably) competitive car. Imagine what he would have done and be doing in that Ferrari had he stayed, a 2012 like effort would have delivered the championship last year and most likely this year.

      1. Alonso is clearly going to forever be dissatisfied with his own accomplishments on a purely statistical level if he is never afforded the opportunity to win another WDC, but thankfully, his extraordinary talent–even during such a prolonged dark spell as this–has not been overlooked by a vast majority of those on the outside of the sport looking in, myself included. Whenever he retires, I’ll never remember Alonso as anything other than one of the sport’s greatest–ailing size-zero McLarens, woeful powerplants, and zero-points finishes be damned.

        1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
          1st May 2018, 20:09

          Very true. He will be remembered as a great without doubt and the last few years have enabled us to see a more humble but hungrier than ever side to Alonso. Just such a travesty.

    9. All Hail the King of Radio Rants :P

    10. Alonso, my man. Big respect for you & the team! Good result.

    11. I don’t care if people hate on Alonso for all this self-praise, but he deserves every bit of it. He’s easily one of the best drivers in Formula 1, and the tragedy that is the McLaren Honda partnership just ruined his reputation. His performances are so easy to overlook because they’re not for wins or podiums, but he’s as good as they ever get.

      1. @pratyushp276 People do not hate Alonso for this bragging, they just believe it is unnecessary. Also, I do not see how his time at McLaren-Honda has ruined his reputation; team bosses and F1 pundits would not regularly rank Alonso among the top drivers if it was so. Also, McLaren would not be paying him a huge salary, he would not be welcome at Toyota’s WEC team etc.

      2. What is true, though, is that his way of expressing himself has basically closed many doors for him, which might as well still be open. If this McLaren thing doesn’t work, he doesn’t really have much choice. And that is his making, I guess.

    12. There’s quite a few “miracles” from this race that wouldn’t have even rated a mention has there not been so many runners higher up that suffered DNF’s

      Reminds me of the 70’s & 80’s when DNF’s were much more prevalent either by way of engine failure, crashes or cars being stuck in gravel after leaving the tracks. People seem to forget that DNF’s are generally the cause for lower teams finishing higher than usual.

    13. It was a great job, but thank God for the SC and that 5-6 cars in front crashed and DNF anymore, otherwise he would have finished 12th at best.

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