Alonso’s battle in Brazil is only possible with a “few drivers” on the Formula 1 grid

Alonso’s battle in Brazil is only possible with a “few drivers” on the Formula 1 grid

After an action-packed start, the Interlagos race fell into a mid-race slumber, but was revived a few laps before the end by a sharp duel between Red Bull driver Perez and Alonso’s Aston Martin.

After chasing Alonso for third place throughout the third stint, Perez finally found a way past at Turn 1 on the penultimate lap.

But although the Spaniard believed his chance at the podium had been lost, he opportunistically took advantage of Perez’s lead into Turn 1 on the final lap, gaining momentum to overtake the Mexican at Turn 4.

Perez nearly passed Alonso in a drag race towards the end, but Alonso held on to secure his and Aston Martin’s first podium finish in seven races by 0.053 seconds.

Despite Perez waiting for another podium finish over a six-race stretch, he was optimistic after what he described as a tough but fair battle with Alonso, which he felt was only possible with “very few” drivers on the grid.

Perez said about his race: “It took me some time to overtake the Mercedes and that hurt my race.”

“After that, we were always on the back foot with Fernando and we were moving towards the end. We were really close to the podium.

Lando Norris, McLaren, second place, Red Bull Cup delegate, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, first place, and Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin Formula 1 Team, third place, on the podium.

Photography: Andy Hone/Motorsport Images

Lando Norris, McLaren, second place, Red Bull Cup delegate, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, first place, and Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin Formula 1 Team, third place, on the podium.

“But I have to say well done to Fernando, because it was a great fight. A very fair race.

“Which is really good, because it’s hard to compete with each other and there’s always so much space, I think with so few drivers you can do that on the grid.

“You know Fernando will always try to take any game, but he will always be fair. It was a great race. I think whoever got the podium was deserved, and he got it.”

He added: “I don’t think I could have done anything differently. I would have liked to have been on the podium. Losing hurts, but I’m happy for Fernando because he had a good race.”

Perez expanded his advantage over Lewis Hamilton in the struggle for second place in the Drivers’ Championship from 20 to 32 points.

Despite his disastrous crash in the first corner of his home race in Mexico and missing out on the podium in Sao Paulo, he feels he is finally starting to turn the corner after a period that sapped confidence and raised new questions about his future with Red Bull.

“Sure,” he said. “I think after I came back to the team in Qatar (in Milton Keynes), we realized a lot of the things we were doing wrong.

“In Austin, we got a little bit exposed, but from then on up to Mexico it was pretty good. I got going, but I was pretty close to the lead. So overall, I think we’re making really good progress.

“The pace has been there over the last few weekends, but for one reason or another, we haven’t been able to put it all together. I think it’s only a matter of time before that comes.”

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Additional reporting by Adam Cooper

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