Fernando Alonso says he didn’t expect to be racing Charles Leclerc on the final lap of the Belgian Grand Prix but that “Ferrari always does some strange strategy”.
Leclerc was running a comfortable fifth after starting in 15th place and recovering from an enforced early pit stop, but Ferrari brought him in at the start of the penultimate lap to fit soft tires and try to set the fastest lap.
However, after a strategic error in qualifying led to Leclerc using up his spare set of new soft tires, on the used set he was unable to secure the extra point, and despite overtaking Alonso he was demoted behind the Alpine for a pit lane speeding offense.
“Yeah I was surprised,” Alonso said. “But Ferrari always does some strange strategy, so that was one of those!”
Alonso’s race was nearly compromised on the first lap when he had contact with Lewis Hamilton, who he called an ”idiot” over team radio at the time and added: “We had a mega start … This guy only knows how to drive and start in first.”
However, he was more calm after finishing the race fifth after Leclerc’s penalty, with Hamilton having said the incident was his fault as Alonso was in his blind spot.
“I was surprised and for sure he now saw the incident and he takes responsibility, which is obviously very nice from him.
“It was a lap one incident, nothing really more to say there or the stewards. They didn’t say anything because these things happen, especially in that corner. It happened in the past, also, I remember with Lewis and [Nico] Rosberg, the same thing.
“So it’s a tricky corner. I was frustrated in that moment for sure. Every time we start in the first or second row and we are fighting for top two or top three, there is something going on.
“ I was frustrated but luckily my car was very strong and there was nothing going on, I could continue. Lewis did not have that luck and had to retire the car.
“I don’t think we were carrying damage. We need to check properly when the car goes back to the garage, but I felt the car was OK for the rest of the race.”