2018 French GP: Disastrous Paul Ricard Race for Alonso and McLaren

Fernando Alonso leading Stoffel Vandoorne, Paul Ricard 2016
© McLaren

Not an easy weekend for the McLaren team. The worst race of Fernando Alonso’s career? The 2018 French Grand Prix could be a strong contender…

Fernando had an average start, but still ended up gaining three positions out of the first corner, after some collisions in the front of the field.

These positions were quickly lost, as Pierre Gasly took out himself and Esteban Ocon out of the race, Fernando had to avoid them – nearly getting hit by Sergey Sirotkin behind him, but the Russian managed to avoid contant.

Alonso lost many places due to this incident, but he found himself 16th, after McLaren pitted him under the inevitable Safety Car, that had to come out on the first lap.

Once the Safety Car came in, Alonso had to defend himself from Vettel behind, the very talented 4 time world champion had already ruined Valtteri Bottas’ race at this point after hitting him in the first corner, he also nearly caused another major collision with Romain Grosjean, after hitting him wide off the track.

Vettel without thinking attempted to pass Alonso in turn three, making contact with the McLaren, Alonso not ready for the move spun, the Ferrari driver of course received almost no punishment for his on track actions.

Fernando was in last place after his spin. He attempted to charge through the field, overtaking the Williams duo of Sirotkin & Stroll, but the highest position Alonso ever had, was 12th place.

McLaren’s tyre gamble to pit on the first lap didn’t pay off, Fernando started to lose positions – eventually having to pit for a new set of ultra soft tyres, Alonso wanted at the very least to go after the fastest lap of the race.

Fernando Alonso was already in the last, 16th place that was still running, after his late pit-stop, but it eventually got even worse, as the Spaniard’s left rear suspension broke, in the closing stages of the race – presumably from the hit that he got from Vettel.

Alonso couldn’t finish this troublesome race, but we can be sure, that he’ll fight hard for points in Austria, in less than one week’s time.

Fernando Alonso, Post-Race:

“I started this race on the back-foot, losing positions at the start as I avoided a lot of accidents around me. Too many cars ahead of me took a short-cut, but I stayed on track and ended up last.”

“I was still last after the Safety Car period, had a problem with overheating brakes, then used one set of tyres while running in traffic for nearly the whole race. Then, at the end, I had to retire with a suspension problem.”

“In five days’ time, we have another opportunity to forget today and raise our game. I really hope this weekend was a one-off and that we’ll show better form at Spielberg and, in particular, at Silverstone.”

“I know there are some new things coming over the next few months, and I’m still quite optimistic in spite of us being uncompetitive this weekend.”

2018 Formula 1 French Grand Prix Race Results
1.united_kingdom Lewis HamiltonMercedesMercedes1:30:11.385
2.netherlands Max VerstappenRed BullTAG7.090
3.finland Kimi RaikkonenFerrariFerrari25.888
4.australia Daniel RicciardoRed BullTAG34.736
5.germany Sebastian VettelFerrariFerrari1’01.935
6.denmark Kevin MagnussenHaasFerrari1’19.364
7.finland Valtteri BottasMercedesMercedes1’20.632
8.spain Carlos Sainz
9.germany Nico HülkenbergRenaultRenault1’31.989
DNFspain Fernando AlonsoMcLarenRenault3 laps