Alonso escapes punishment after ‘best Saturday of the year’

Fernando Alonso escaped punishment for setting a personal best lap time despite double waved yellow flags and will start the Turkish Grand Prix from sixth on the grid.

The stewards summoned Alonso as he set a quick lap early in Q1 having passed a section of double waved yellow flags. However, after an investigation the stewards opted to take no further action, stating Alonso had abided by the rules by slowing significantly and waiting until the next lap to try and set a representative time.

“Taking into account the fact that the yellow flag situation occurred at the time the driver started his first timed lap of the session and noting that the driver was fully convinced that he did not set a meaningful lap time as his next flying lap was approximately 3.5 seconds faster than the one when the yellow flag situation occurred, the Stewards are satisfied that the driver complied with the relevant regulations and take no further action,” the decision read.

That means Alonso will start from fifth on Sunday, with the Spaniard believing the outcome is the best qualifying result he’s had so far this year given the strategic options available to him.

“The truth is that I am very happy,” Alonso said. “It was probably the best Saturday of the year. We came from the best race in terms of competitiveness in Sochi and now I felt good as well. Always in the almost wet conditions we were fourth, fifth, sixth, and now in Q3 as well, when normally we drop to ninth or so.

“With Hamilton’s penalty we will start fifth, on the clean side, and with the mediums tires we qualified with in Q2, so it’s been a good Saturday. Let’s see how we finish the job tomorrow.”

Despite the risk of rain decreasing for Sunday’s race, Alonso says wet weather would be disastrous for Alpine given the position it now finds itself in.

“There are still unanswered questions for tomorrow, because the laps we did yesterday didn’t perhaps offer clear results. There were different degradations for different people.

“We think the softs are going to be quite bad in the race, so that’s why we did Q2 with the yellows. And then we have the hard tires for the race after not using them in practice, so… I’m sure it will rain tomorrow and there will be total chaos and it will be a crazy race just when we don’t need it…”