Alonso ‘loved’ race-long Hamilton battle
By Mat Coch
Monday 19th June, 2023 - 8:15am
Fernando Alonso “loved” the race-long battle he waged with Lewis Hamilton throughout the Canadian Grand Prix.
Alonso finished second to Max Verstappen in the 70-lap affair, though not before having to find a way by Hamilton’s Mercedes.
The Englishman jumped better and cleared the Aston Martin into the first corner, holding the spot for the first 20 laps.
He finally made the move stick into the chicane at the end of the lap, by which time Verstappen had extended a three-second margin ahead.
Alonso and Hamilton remained in close proximity from there out, engaging in a cagey battle as the relative performance of their cars ebbed and flowed.
“When we lost a place at the start, I thought that maybe that was already gone, P2, and have to concentrate on the in the guys behind, George and the Ferraris, maybe,” Alonso said.
“But then we were able to overtake Lewis, and we had a little bit of more pace on that part of the race.
“I was quite okay until the last 20 or 25 laps that Lewis was coming very fast and I had to push again to the limit.
“It was 70 laps of qualifying, so it was not time to rest, and I loved it.”
Verstappen’s final margin of victory was 9.6s over Alonso, who had to nurse his car in the latter stages.
Concerns surrounding his rear brakes allowed Hamilton to close in, though he was never in a position to reclaim second spot, and the gap drifted 4.6s back at the chequered flag.
Speaking immediately post-race, Alonso had no explanation as to why the team instructed him to lift and coast in the latter stages or why his getaway at the start was so slow.
He did, however, have an answer for his tyre call, which saw him end the race on the hard compound tyres versus the mediums used by Verstappen and Hamilton.
“We didn’t have another medium,” Alonso explained.
“There is something that you need to decide before qualifying, the tyre allocation for qualifying and the race.
“Sometimes you decide to go for one medium, one hard, because you think it’s enough, sometimes two hards, sometimes two mediums.
“Obviously with the very limited practice that we did on Friday, it was a guess.
“I’m happy with the decision. For us, the hard was not a bad tyre at all.
“We were able to extend the stints and on our car it was a good tyre.”
Alonso remains third in the drivers’ championship, just nine points back from Sergio Perez.