Fernando Alonso, who secured second place at the Dutch Grand Prix, has lightheartedly attributed his decision to refrain from attempting a late pass on Max Verstappen to the vibrant atmosphere created by the exuberant crowd.
With Verstappen clinching his ninth consecutive victory in front of a passionate Dutch audience of 105,000, Alonso humorously suggested that the enthusiastic energy influenced his race strategy and his choice to not challenge the home-favourite driver.
Acknowledging the remarkable ambiance at Zandvoort, Alonso expressed his appreciation for the spirited fans: “Thanks to all the fans, the energy that we have here in Zandvoort is very unique.”
He noted that the atmosphere at the racetrack posed a challenge in maintaining concentration but emphasised that the vibrant environment contributed to his focused performance.
Recalling his thoughts during the race, Alonso shared his jestful reasoning behind not attempting a late move on Verstappen: “I did think about trying a move at the last restart, but then I thought maybe I cannot exit the circuit!
“So, I stayed calm in second.”
His playful remark indicates that the overwhelming presence of Verstappen’s Dutch supporters played a role in his decision-making process.
The Dutch Grand Prix featured dramatic moments, including a red flag and unpredictable weather conditions.
Despite starting from fifth place, Alonso showcased his skill by making a daring overtaking manoeuvre on both George Russell and Alex Albon by the third corner.
This accomplishment marked his seventh podium finish of the year and demonstrated his ability to make a comeback from challenging positions.
Reflecting on his race performance, Alonso described the intense nature of the event and highlighted the effectiveness of his car: “The car was flying today, very competitive, very easy to drive.
“In these conditions you need a car that you can trust, and I did trust the car a lot today, I did enjoy.”
He emphasised the importance of feeling a connection with the car and praised the car’s responsiveness to his actions during the race.
Alonso also recounted a strategic move he made based on his experience during wet practice sessions:
“It was wet (in practice) and in one of the out-laps I let a few cars go on the normal racing line and I found a lot of grip on the inside casually, by just letting people go.”