“It’s better not to race” on Saturday — Alonso unhappy with Sprint penalty and lack of tyre sets as he recovers to P7 in F1 Chinese GP

Photo Credit: Aston Martin Aramco F1 Team
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Fernando Alonso described finishing seventh in the Chinese Grand Prix as , despite having started from third position and ending the first lap in second place after masterfully overtaking Sergio Pérez’s Red Bull around the outside in turn 2.

He remains convinced Aston Martin is no more than the fifth fastest team on the grid.

Post-race, Alonso explained the move on Pérez: “Yesterday, the same with Lewis [Hamilton], I was P2 when Lando went off and I said ‘OK, I may try to lead the race for at least one lap’. Today, I passed Checo and thought, ‘OK, I will do it again’ but I had no choice or opportunity, but hopefully one day soon.

“The wind direction changed this morning so in Turns 1 and 2 it was a headwind. So I knew that if I was parallel to someone in Turns 1 and 2, I had the opportunity to attack. I was very aggressive.”

Unfortunately for the Spaniard, that was as good as it got. He was passed by Perez and Norris before his first stop.

“Then eventually, you fall back to your natural position, which is 9th and 10th. We keep repeating the same things but we see every Sunday that we are the fifth-fastest team.

“But for whatever reason, they [Aston’s rivals] don’t put the laps together on a Saturday, we qualify in front of them and then there is this fight every Sunday. Let’s see if we can improve the car and we are little bit faster.”

Aston Martin decided to change the medium tyres for a set of hard ones 11 laps into the race as the degradation had been quite high on his mediums.

A 45-lap stint on hards was never possible. As that was their only set of hards available, Alonso’s day was ruined by the 2 Safety Car periods as he only did a short stint on those tyres.

“We didn’t have any more hard tyres. We had one soft and one medium left, and 35 laps in front of us which, in our calculations, it was not possible to make it to the end,” Alonso said.

“There were obviously a lot of Safety Car laps to remove the Sauber and as soon as the Safety Car came in, more Safety Car laps because of the crash.

“That was I think was the luck that the hard [tyre] cars had to finish the race.”

Alonso was on softs at the restart and ran in P5. But it forced him into a 3-stop as he pitted again on lap 43, where he came out in 12th. He recovered 5 positions as he used his new mediums to pass Albon, Ocon, Hülkenberg, Hamilton and Piastri, finishing P7 with the fastest lap.

The two-time F1 World Champion fired a shot at the sport over his penalty on Saturday for pushing Carlos Sainz off the track, stating as well that there is not much point racing in the Sprint so tyres can be saved for the main event.

“The best thing is to not do the sprint race probably on Saturdays to keep more set of tyres for Sunday, there are few points on the table for us if you’re not winning the race and you risk penalty points on the license so it’s better maybe not to race.

“Yeah, I think more tyres would be good. Getting a Sprint race… if you want a sprint for the show, and for overtaking and let them race racing, and then you don’t let them race, it’s better not to race.”