McLaren went into the 2022 Formula 1 French Grand Prix weekend with a major new upgrade package, aiming to rejoin the fight for the midfield lead, although they knew Alpine wouldn’t have it easy. Mercedes, increasingly closer to the head, has managed to leave that list.
In qualifying, Lando Norris was best of the rest, even managing to slip between the two Brackley team drivers in fifth, behind only Lewis Hamilton. Meanwhile, George Russell set the sixth fastest time and Fernando Alonso eighth, ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon, who were ninth and tenth respectively.
With the two McLarens outpacing the Alpines in the fastest session of the weekend, it looked like the Woking outfit would have the advantage going into Paul Ricard’s race.
However, that was not the case, from the start, Fernando Alonso overtook Lando Norris and began to put land in between, with a pace that the young Briton could not match, something that caught the papaya-colored team totally by surprise. .
At one point in the race and just after the 53-lap mark, Norris began to put pressure on Alonso and they quickly became alarmed at the wall of the French structure, since the two drivers had made their pit stop and wanted to reach the end of the race on those hard tyres, so keeping track position was key.
At that moment, the Asturian pilot’s engineer opened the radio and warned the man from Oviedo that Norris was getting dangerously close to him, so he had to increase the pace: “Don’t let them get close, don’t get close,” was the message in concrete.
To which Alonso , with a much more intelligent thought and aware that he had more pace that he could bring out if Norris really became a threat, replied: “No problem. I want him to come to me so I can kill his tires “.
Video: this was Alonso’s radio message to Alpine to harm Norris
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At the end of the 53 laps, Fernando Alonso proved that he was right with his radio message and that he had controlled the race like a charm. The Spaniard crossed the checkered flag in sixth position, with a Norris who finally ended up suffering more with his tires and who, although he managed to finish seventh, just in the next place, ended up falling nine seconds behind.
Thanks to this result, and also to Ocon finishing eighth ahead of Ricciardo , Alpine was able to catch up with McLaren and climb from fifth to fourth in the constructors’ championship, giving the French team a new target for the rest of the season. year.
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