(Motorsport-Total.com) – Fernando Alonso moved from Formula 1 to Hungarian Grand Prix official Today’s driver to choose. Perhaps the main reason for that was his festive performance between laps 54 and 65, when he was able to keep Lewis Hamilton behind with an impassioned defensive battle, even though he had softer tires and eight laps newer tires.
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Racing Duel in Hungary: Fernando Alonso vs. Lewis Hamilton
In the end, Hamilton was just 2.7 seconds behind winner Esteban Ocon, although he started his chase after the last stop on lap 47, 25.6 seconds behind. Hamilton grinded 3.3, 3.7, 2.8, 2.8 and 2.1 seconds further away from his deficit in the first few laps on the new tyres. Until he bumped into Alonso.
When the Mercedes driver walked into the DRS window of the alpine veteran, he was only 9.2 seconds behind Ocon. But then “it looked as if Alonso had also pushed a little bit for Red Bull,” said Red Bull boss Christian Horner. And Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has to admit: “Alonso Esteban won the race today.”
It wasn’t that Hamilton didn’t try everything to get past Alonso faster. Hamilton says Alonso is “one of the toughest drivers” – and adds: “Today I think he went over the limit a little bit at times”. Wolf nodded in agreement: “Maybe hitting the wheels was too hard. But that’s Fernando. That’s why he’s one of the greats.”
Above all, the Alpine Command Center didn’t have to explain to the 40-year-old that it wasn’t just about his own racing, but also about Ocons, when Hamilton appeared in full form in the rearview mirror. “Fernando is incredibly good at reading the races himself,” says Alpines CEO Marcin Budkowski.
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“I said to Alan Berman in the driving position: ‘Why don’t we tell Fernando that it’s not just about him, but it’s also important for the team to defend fourth in order to win the race? Alan just looked at me and said, ‘I think he knows that.’ He was right about that. Fernando is a racer. He knew that well.”
Alonso confirms: “The team didn’t tell me anything. But I had a rough idea of what was going on. I saw on the video walls that Esteban and Vettel were fighting. And when Lewis realized three seconds per lap with 20 laps left, I knew this could be the case.” Enough for him to win. So I knew every lap I put Luis behind me, Esteban’s chances increased.”
Marcin Budkowski goes into more detail in Motorsport Network’s new “This Week With Will Buxton” video format: “Without the slight braking in the first corner, I might have kept Lewis behind until the end. Giving tricks, positioning the car correctly, braking right, accelerating, choosing right angles.
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“It was great to watch. You can see 20 years of motorsports experience live in action. Fernando knew exactly what he was supposed to do. And that, even though Luis was a lot faster than him. Carlos Sainz has Luis in the meantime. One time, he skipped two laps,” Budkowski praised.
Alonso was “unbelievable, absolutely incredible,” sporting director Alan Berman said enthusiastically. Berman already knows the Spaniard from his first two stages with Enstone – so he knows exactly: “He’s happy for the team, he’s happy for Esteban. But I know he’s also very frustrated because he’d rather be himself. He would have won.”
Alonso: Not in a situation like this since Toyota
But Alonso was able to hide the disappointment that he had not achieved Alpine’s first F1 victory by himself. After the race, he was the whole team player: “The last time I was in a situation like this was at a Toyota on the endurance circuit. One of our cars or the other always won,” he recalls.
“It’s different this time because we didn’t have the car to win,” Alonso said. “So you need special circumstances. But we had them today, and we made the most of them. I’m happy for Esteban. When you’re so young and you win your first Grand Prix, it’s a memory that will be with you forever.”
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“I am happy for the team. All the mechanics, engineers and factory staff have worked hard for this car and in 2022. With all the coronavirus and travel restrictions, it is a very stressful season, and the second half of the season coming up is stressful too. Getting such a result now is a great feeling. I saw many smiling faces.”
One might think that Hungary is a kind of fateful race for Alonso. In 2003, when he was the youngest Formula 1 winner in history, he won his first Grand Prix there. And in 2007, in McLaren’s unforgettable first year (“Star Wars”), there he clashed with Hamilton of all places. the Siege of the pit lane from behind at that time It is part of the history of Formula 1.
Budkowski explains, “Lewis clearly had the best car. All our strategy simulations said he’d fly away from Esteban. But we also knew he’d have to overtake a few cars to do that, and that wasn’t the case on this simple track. The stats don’t know all Nothing. Fernando’s resistance helped tremendously.”
Alonso himself says, “I honestly thought I could carry him for a lap or two, not longer. But he found it difficult to keep up with me in the last three corners. So I always had a little head start on the DRS in a row. Ten laps behind me, he thought of new lines. For the last corners, apply that to Carlos on the spot.”
Alonso: Faith in victory is getting smaller and smaller
“I was convinced I would get on the podium,” Alonso said angrily. Because Hungary’s 2021 history also includes the fact that Hamilton not only caught him when he was fourth, but was also faster than Sainz in front of him. “I drove the fastest laps in the race for a while. Then I thought I wanted to win!”
“Then at some point I realized that winning wasn’t possible. Before Hamilton swung, I met him and Carlos. When Hamilton was at the time, I had Carlos in front of me. I thought, ‘Okay, you can’t win anymore but the podium is possible.'” But from the last corner I didn’t have the speed to get past Carlos.”
“Then the idea came to me that he would help me against Hamilton if I could stick with Carlos and use the DRS. But the duel with Lewis made me lose the DRS. Since then, it has been just a fight over the DRS. Fourth place, unfortunately that was not enough, But for a moment I thought about winning. I was very optimistic,” the two-time world champion said.
Looking back, he’s “a little unhappy” about missing the podium, “because I have the speed to win the race. At least in stages. On the other hand, I have to say: I was lucky that the race wasn’t over after the first corner, as It is the case with some others. From this point of view, we take the top 5. It’s my best result this season.”
“It wasn’t a gift, I had to fight for it every lap. I’m proud of it, and so is the driver of the day. I hope to be more lucky one day and finish on the podium. I can.” I wouldn’t do it alone at the moment. But maybe there will be more races like that, and then maybe it’s my turn,” he says.
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