Alonso: Canada F1 engine problem forced me to ‘drive a suicide bomber’ around the corners

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Alonso felt he had the pace to fend off the Mercedes drivers, but eventually fell to seventh from second on the grid.

The Spaniard had a very long opening stint from second on the grid, but the strategy was compromised by a power cut and a first pit stop in green conditions, and he fell behind team-mate Esteban Ocon.

Later he was able to make a second stop under a VSC, with Ocon putting both riders on medium tires for the final stint.

In the final laps he was asking his team how to overtake the Frenchman, saying he had been “a hundred times faster” over the weekend, but in the end he held on.

“Engine, that was the only answer,” he said when asked about his fall in command.

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“We had an engine problem on lap 20 where we cut the energy very early on the straights, right out of the corners.

“So we tried to fix it. But that did not work. Fortunately, we didn’t abandon the car and we still scored some points. But until then, I think we were fighting for the podium.

“At the start of the race I felt strong compared to Hamilton, we just didn’t have the pace to [Max] Verstappen and [Carlos] Sainz, but okay to control Hamilton and the Mercedes.

“And then the virtual safety cars, lucky or unlucky, which could change the race, okay. But maybe we could still fight for P3, P4.

Fernando Alonso, Alpine A522

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

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“But then when the engine problem happened he was just trying to survive, trying to get DRS, driving a suicide bomber around the corners before detection because DRS was my only safety on the straights after that.”

Asked about his “one hundred times faster” comment, he replied: “I couldn’t pass. But yes, it was very frustrating because my car was flying this weekend.

“And I was more or less a second behind on the straights. And even with that I was still faster in the race. So it’s amazing to finish P7.

“We had the same tires [as Ocon], because we both stopped on the VSC. I was a second slower on the straights, so I had to claw back 1.1 or 1.2 on the corners, just to close that gap. So it was difficult.”

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Alonso had some reliability issues in the early races of the season, but has had better luck lately.

“Yeah, that’s obviously another reliability issue on car 14 only. So that’s disappointing.

“I mean, I’m here to try to be better than sixth and seventh. I think this weekend we were better than sixth and seventh.

“So if we didn’t finish on the podium or before, it’s because we had a reliability problem on car 14 and bad luck maybe with the virtual safety car, but luck doesn’t not control. Car 14 reliability should be a bit better.

Alonso was placed under investigation at the end of the race for weaving on the straights, although the stewards did not mention when he did so.

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