In a weekend that held so much promise, P2 starter Fernando Alonso’s difficult race in Montreal was made worse, after the Alpine driver was handed a five-second penalty after the Grand Prix by the stewards, making him shift from seventh to ninth.
Alonso was called into the marshals’ room at the end of the race, after he was seen squeezing into the straight on the penultimate lap of the Grand Prix, as he defended himself from the Alfa Romeo by Valtteri Bottas.
And after a hearing with both drivers and their team representatives, as well as a review of video and telemetry evidence from both drivers, it was found that the Spaniard had changed direction more than once while he was defending a position, the stewards penalizing Alonso, dropping him from seventh to ninth.
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Alonso had started the race second after a sensational performance in the wet qualifying session, but fell to fourth after being passed by compatriot Carlos Sainz and Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes. And after a pit stop that dropped him to P7 and failed to try his luck under various virtual and real safety cars, Alonso had to deal with an engine problem for the majority of the race, which practically ended his hopes of a podium finish.
“Yeah, we were unlucky with VSC again,” Alonso said. “I was right on the start and finish line when it happened and was just coming into the pits when it ended so we decided to stay out so I was a bit unlucky But the biggest problem was the engine, we had an engine problem at lap 20 or something.
“I was losing, like, a second per lap with the engine deployment, and from that point on we forgot about the podium, or the car retirement, we just stayed in the DRS train with the cars in front just to defend But it was very difficult to stay with Esteban [Ocon] or Charles [Leclerc] because on the straights we were losing a second.
“I think this weekend we deserved better than ninth place,” he added, “but it’s still good that both cars score points at the end. We finally lost a great opportunity to fight for a potential podium as I felt I had the pace to do so.
His teammate Esteban Ocon was in a much more optimistic mood after the race, having finished in P6 – his seventh top 10 of the season. And the delighted French driver said his team should be “proud” of their performance in Montreal, believing they have maximized their performance.
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“It was a great race for us,” Ocon said. “Compared to yesterday we managed to get the car to work a bit better and that meant a lot because we maximized the potential today and finished sixth and seventh. [before the penalty]with McLaren not scoring, is a big boost for us in the constructors’ championship.
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“We can be happy about that. A good start, I managed to overtake at the start and defend Charles halfway through the race, but he was too fast at the end… It feels good to have a weekend like this with big points that we deserved. That’s quite a few weekends with outside factors, but yeah, it feels good for this one.