Fernando Alonso secured his best result of the season on Sunday at the Monaco Grand Prix, as the Spaniard finally finished higher than third.
Alonso crossed the line at the Circuit de Monaco in a season-best second place, just over 28 seconds behind race winner Max Verstappen.
Verstappen was simply in a league of his own as per usual, with Alonso having had no answer to the Dutchman’s pace.
The 41-year-old certainly gave it his best shot though, with Aston Martin having opted for a different strategy to the reigning World Champion.
Aston Martin had Alonso start the 78-lap race on the Hard compound, whilst Verstappen was on the Mediums.
The plan was for Alonso to run deeper into the race than Verstappen, in a bid to have fresher and faster tyres in the closing stages.
A late downpour completely ruined this plan, with Verstappen having ditched his initial set of tyres for a set of Intermediates, something which Alonso should’ve done.
When the rain started to fall, only a small section of the circuit was initially wet, something which caused confusion amongst the paddock.
With only a few corners having become drenched, Alonso pitted for a set of Medium tyres, whilst Verstappen continued to circulate on his first set of tyres.
The situation changed quickly though, with the entire circuit having become wet on Alonso’s out-lap, resulting in him pitting again instantly for a set of Intermediates.
It effectively meant he handed Verstappen a free pit-stop, something which led to the Dutchman winning by such a huge margin.
Alonso was nevertheless jubilant after the race, with him having been spotted joining in with Red Bull’s team photo to celebrate Verstappen’s fourth win of the 2023 season.
Understandably, the decision to fit Alonso with Medium tyres rather than Intermediates was a leading question after the race, with the Aston Martin driver having been “surprised” at how often he was asked it.
He explained that at the time of making his first pit-stop, the majority of the circuit was still completely dry; however, the track changed drastically after exiting the pits.
“I don’t know,” said Alonso.
“I heard this question in the TV pen as well. Which, I was surprised a little bit.
“I didn’t leave the race from the cockpit, as you probably saw on the outside.
“For me, it was very clear that the track on that lap we stop was completely dry, apart from Turn 7 and 8. So, how will [I] put the inters? It was completely dry, 99 per cent of the track. So, I stopped for dries.
“The weather forecast, it was small shower, and the small quantity of rain as well, what we had, as a team, and we had a lot of margin behind us, to put the dry tyres and, if necessary, the inter tyres, so, you know, maybe it was extra safe, I don’t know.
“But that minute and a half that it took to go through Turns 5, 6, 7 and 8 again, it changed completely, so the out-lap on the dry tyres, it was very wet when I go to those corners, but the lap that we stopped, it was completely dry.”