Published On: Mon, Apr 30th, 2018

Fernando Alonso: No one else could've handled my Baku car damage

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Fernando Alonso believes other drivers would have “parked their cars” had they suffered the kind of damage he had at the start of Formula 1’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The McLaren driver was hit by the Williams of Sergey Sirotkin in a three-abreast moment also involving Nico Hulkenberg on the opening lap in Baku, and was forced to crawl back to the pits with two punctured tyres that disintegrated on the way.

After replacing the front wing and the wheels, Alonso returned to the race and managed to recover to seventh position despite the damage to the floor of his car.

Alonso said the position was the result of “persistence and pride” and labelled his performance as the best of his life.

“Very crazy. Another seventh place but I think it was the result of persistence and pride, because I think no one [else] would have reached the pitlane, first of all,” Alonso said.

“They would have parked the car and if they could reach the pitlane they would have retired the car.

“But we didn’t park or retire the car and fought for every tenth, every lap, close to the walls all race long and, I think it was the best race of my life.

“I reached the pitlane thanks to a miracle. I didn’t have two wheels or front wing or floor or anything.

“They changed the tyres and they told me the car was heavily damaged so I thought I wouldn’t be able to finish or that I would be very slow.

“But I started overtaking cars and then with the safety car I gained some positions in the end.”

Alonso admitted he had “feared the worst” when he was informed about the damage to his car, and conceded the result came as a surprise.

When asked how much laptime the damage was costing him, he said: “They told me significant damage and when they say that it’s usually bad news because if it’s little they’d say you only have a damaged wing, that shouldn’t be a problem.

“When they said significant damage I feared the worst.”

Team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne completed another double-points finish for McLaren with ninth position.



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