Alonso considered victory bid lunge on Verstappen
By Ian Parkes
Monday 28th August, 2023 - 1:30pm
Fernando Alonso has revealed how close he came to gatecrashing Max Verstappen’s latest victory party on home soil.
Verstappen made it three Dutch Grand Prix victories in a row, and a ninth overall in F1 this season, the latter equalling the record set by former Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel a decade ago.
The 25-year-old did come under pressure, however, from Aston Martin driver Alonso at the restart with seven laps remaining following a 46-minute rain delay.
Although the wily 42-year-old Alonso tried every trick he could muster in the awkward conditions, it was not enough to prevent Verstappen from setting another record.
Addressing what was a mini-sprint race in the closing stages, albeit from a rolling start, and whether he had considered going for victory, Alonso said: “I was thinking about trying. So I was not conservative, let’s say.
“I thought about what to do – a lot – in the red-flag period. I thought about what were the possibilities, obviously, with a move into Turn 2 something that was in my head, also into Turn 1.
“I discussed it with the team as well. That was my feeling, that I wanted to try, but obviously, I didn’t want to compromise any big points for the team because second was very important as well.
“They were happy with me to try. I think they have the trust in me as well, in whatever I decide.
“So yeah, at the restart, I tried in Turn 4 launching the lap, trying to be flat in the banking with the cold tyres, which is a little bit risky, and I tried to be side-by-side at least into Turn 1 but I was not that close.
“After that, I tried some different lines – inside, outside – the opposite of Max for the first lap, in case one of the lines was very grippy or much grippier than his. And yeah, it was close, but not enough.”
The two-time F1 champion had to settle for second, his eighth podium in 13 grands prix since his switch to Aston Martin, albeit his first for six races, ending his lean spell and signalling a return to form for the team.
With a new floor on the car, the indication is that the upgrade provided the upturn in performance that was hoped for.
As to whether Aston Martin has recaptured its tag of being the second-quickest team, as was the case at the start of the season, the conditions at Zandvoort offered an indicator but no firm conclusions.
“It’s too early to say,” remarked Alonso. “The car is better than the previous events, that’s for sure.
“I felt it was easier to drive, that we were more competitive. We were in the top five in every session, so it was not only in the race where we were fast, I think we felt competitive since Friday.
“But Monza next week (for the Italian GP) is a completely different layout, minimum downforce there and drag. Let’s see if we can still be competitive.”