Fernando Alonso has likened his thrilling race-long fight with Lewis Hamilton to “70 laps of qualifying” as he showcased his competitive spirit at the Canadian Grand Prix.
Following a slow start that saw him lose ground to Hamilton in the opening corner, Alonso found himself engaged in a high-stakes drag race with George Russell towards Turn 3.
Eventually overtaking the seven-time world champion on Lap 22, Alonso aimed to set his sights on race leader Max Verstappen.
However, his aspirations were hindered by a suspected brake issue.
At one point during the race, Alonso received the information that Hamilton was closing in, just 1.9 seconds behind.
In response, the determined Spaniard swiftly increased the gap, leaving no room for his rival to make a move.
After crossing the finish line, Alonso expressed his enjoyment of the battle.
Grinning, he stated: “The last driver you want to see in your mirrors is Lewis Hamilton when he comes fast.
“But I had a little bit more pace in hand, and in the end, he was never in the DRS gap, so it was good to finish second.
“It was like 70 laps of qualifying today. There was no time to rest, and I loved it.”
When asked if he believed that, had it not been for his poor start, he could have challenged Verstappen for the win, Alonso replied: “It was close… the closest I think.
“I believe it was our most competitive race of the year in terms of pace.
“We were matching the Red Bulls for most of the race.
“Sometimes we lost a little bit of pace, but at one point, I thought the race was over and second place was good. Then I saw Lewis coming so fast.”
Regarding the suspected brake issue, Alonso downplayed its impact on the race result, stating that he didn’t believe it had a significant effect.
He explained that at this circuit, sacrificing a bit on entry to optimise corner exits was a strategic approach they discussed before the race.
Alonso also addressed the tire strategy employed by Aston Martin, dismissing claims that they made a wrong decision.
He clarified that due to limited practice on Friday, tire allocation was based on guesswork, and they were content with their choice of using the hard compound. The extended stints with the hard tires worked well for their car.