Fernando Alonso’s shenanigans during the Miami Grand Prix cost him valuable points after Formula 1 Race Stewards deemed his Sunday antics worthy of penalties.
The first eighth-place turned to ninth when Alonso was handed a five seconds penalty for colliding with AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly during the race. Then after qualifying, the FIA appointed Stewards lobbed another penalty at the Spaniard, this one for going off track to gain an advantage.
There is a hint of overdrive, perhaps even some desperation in the veteran’s approach to his second coming in F1. More aggression is clear while using all the tools (the dark ones too) in his substantial arsenal, at 40 years of age vying to stay relevant in a sport that is fast being overrun by a new generation of 20-something hotshots making their older rivals look past their sell-by date.
Esteban Ocon is a case in point, the younger Alpine driver starting the race from the back of the grid after shunting on Saturday, made his way through the midfield minefield to finish a very impressive eighth.
The difference in consistency and performances is highlighted by the fact that after five rounds, heading to Barcelona for round six later this month, Ocon lies eighth in the 2022 F1 championship standings with 24 points, Alonso has two and is down in 16th.
The French 25 -year-old is why Alpine are sixth in the constructors’ championship at this stage of the title race.
Fernando: I made some good moves at the start, gained some positions but was unlucky with the safety car
In the team report after the Miami race, Alonso apologised for the Gasly moment: “We were probably in the fight for seventh or eighth without it. I then made a mistake when I tried to overtake Pierre, which was my fault and I apologise.
“In the race I made some good moves at the start and gained some positions. We were a bit unlucky with the timing of the Safety Car and some others were quite fortunate.
“Overall, I think our race pace seemed to be good. It was also very hot and humid, so it was quite challenging physically for us,” Alonso added, not knowing a second penalty was looming and, with it handed to him, means he scored zero points in Miami.
In the other car, a delighted Ocon delivered yet again, atoning for crashing the car heavily in FP3 and missing qualifying for that reason: “What a race! A big thank you to the team for all the hard work overnight putting back together what was a pretty broken car after that big shunt in practice on Saturday.
“They are the real stars this weekend. For me, it feels great to come away with points after starting from the back of the grid and I’m definitely leaving happy after such a tough day. The car and the strategy were great, it was a well-managed race and we’re capping off an exhilarating first race weekend in Miami in style.
“Now we need to keep that momentum as we head back to Europe for the next round,” which is Barcelona, Spain, Alonso’s home track; expect fireworks.
Bad news for the 40-year-old Spaniard triggered good news for Williams driver Alex Albon who sees tenth in the race become ninth, and Lance Stroll promoted to 10th, collecting the final point for Aston Martin