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British GP: Race team notes - Alpine

NEWS STORY
03/07/2022

BWT Alpine F1 Team's Fernando Alonso claimed a well fought fifth place from today's British Grand Prix in a race filled with drama from start to finish at a sold-out Silverstone. Esteban Ocon looked set to join Fernando in the points, but he was forced to retire from eighth place, 14 laps from the end with a suspected fuel pump failure.

Fernando's 10 points today means the team closes the gap to fourth place in the Constructors' Championship to six points.

A red flag after an incident at Turn 1 on the opening lap brought almost a one-hour delay to the scheduled 52-lap race. Esteban was caught up in the incident - involving a handful of cars including Guanyu Zhou, Alexander Albon and George Russell - with damage sustained to the front-right corner of his A522. Esteban did well to nurse the car home during the red flag period, which allowed the team to make the necessary repairs to his car during the delay.

After the restart, Fernando, on Mediums, pushed ahead to put pressure on the McLaren of Lando Norris in fifth, while Esteban, on Softs, edged towards the top ten and into points-scoring contention. By lap 11, Fernando held sixth and Esteban seventh.

Esteban pitted for Hards on lap 22, while Fernando remained out aiming to undercut Norris ahead. He pitted on lap 33 for Hards before Esteban's retirement with a suspected fuel pump issue on the old start-finish straight brought out the Safety Car. Fernando capitalised, pitting for Softs, leapfrogging Norris who left his stop one lap later.

A seven-lap sprint to the finish between six cars and five different teams ensued with Fernando well in the mix for a podium position. After a thrilling jostle for position across a number of laps and a number of cars, Fernando settled for a deserved fifth place at the chequered flag.

Esteban Ocon: "The most important thing to take out of this race is that Zhou is OK after that massive crash. It happened right in front of me, and I was lucky to avoid most of it, but then I sustained damage on the right side of the car from contact with Alex [Albon]. I have to say, the guys did an incredible job getting the car repaired and ready for the race restart, so thanks and well done to them. We did well at the restart and the pace in the car was good. A fuel pump issue on lap 38 ended our race unfortunately and we had to retire the car. All in all, it wasn't a smooth weekend with some of the car issues in Q2 and today during the race, so we'll need to look into all of this closely. It was a weekend with a lot of learning and I'm happy for the team with the solid points from Fernando today. Onto the next race in just a few days' time."

Fernando Alonso: "It was a fun race today and we are happy to finish in fifth position. I was hoping there would be some drama at the end, and we might have sneaked a podium with all of the action, but it was fun to be fighting amongst it inside the top five places. I think our final position should realistically be fourth because I saw Charles [Leclerc] weaving multiple times in front of Lewis [Hamilton] and, compared to what happened to me in Canada, I guess it's not allowed and should be a penalty. Looking back at the weekend as a whole, I think the car was very good and I felt more competitive than in any other races so far this season. We executed our race very well and showed consistent pace. I'm expecting us to keep this up and hopefully maintain our competitiveness again over the next few races. I must say congratulations to Carlos [Sainz] on his first win and, also, I'm glad Zhou is OK after his incident at the start. It shows how far safety has come in modern Formula 1 racing."

Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal: "First of all, it's good news that the drivers involved in the incident at the beginning of the race are OK. It's testament to the extraordinary safety standards and implementation in Formula 1 that everyone was OK after a quite frightening incident. From there, this afternoon, we've witnessed a quite brilliant Grand Prix, which, for Formula 1, is a great advert for the exceptional entertainment of this sport.

"We're very pleased with Fernando's fifth place. He drove a well measured race and credit to the team for the pit-stop under the Safety Car, which allowed him to importantly jump Lando [Norris] and fight at the front towards the end. On Esteban's side, he too was driving superbly well after sustaining damage early on in the race. The team did a great job in repairing his car and then he put himself into contention to score good points. Unfortunately, a suspected fuel pump issue forced him to retire, and we will get on top of these issues quickly in order to ensure we achieve our goals. We leave here with ten points, a strong haul, and we're looking forward to going to Austria this week ready to score double points."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Silverstone here.

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