Fernando Alonso wanted to put more pressure on Max Verstappen late in the Canadian Grand Prix but was hampered by issues amid an “amazing battle” for the top three.
Aston Martin’s upgrades left Alonso believing he could stay close to Verstappen but those hopes took a hit when he lost out to Lewis Hamilton off the line. The Spaniard managed to regain second place after the first round of pit stops but then started handling a brake issue as well as fuel levels, leaving him having to defend in the closing stages having spent a spell within 4s of Verstappen.
“I think we were hoping to challenge a little more the Red Bull,” Alonso said. “But we lost a place at the start with Lewis and then it was a battle with the Mercedes and Lewis was pushing all the race, so I didn’t have one lap where I could relax a little bit. So it was an amazing battle.
“I think it was our most competitive race of the year in terms of pace. We were matching the Red Bulls most of the race. Sometimes we lost a little bit of pace. At one point I thought the race was over and second place was good. Then I saw Lewis coming so fast — the last driver you want to see in your mirrors is Lewis Hamilton when he comes fast! But I had a little bit more pace in hand and in the end he was never in the DRS gap, so it was good to finish second. It was like 70 laps of qualifying today.”
Despite the issues he was having to manage, Alonso doesn’t believe he lost a huge amount of performance even if he could have been closer to Verstappen.
“I don’t think it was much, to be honest. (It’s a) circuit that sometimes you can give up a little bit on entries to have better exits to the corners. We also discussed before the race that lift and coast would maybe be needed at one point and things like that. I was ready for that and I don’t think it had an impact on the race result.
“I don’t really know. They didn’t tell me so maybe it was not to make me worry too much. But I don’t know. I felt the car was OK. But I was just following the instructions, so hopefully that means that we have a little bit more pace. So next one, putting more pressure on Max.”