Alonso: Fine line between heroic and stupid

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Fernando Alonso has been left licking his wounds after he was eliminated at the first stage of qualifying for the British Grand Prix today.

The Spaniard finished the session in 19th place after Ferrari opted to move him onto the dry tires too late. There was a brief window during Q1 where they were working effectively and giving the drivers more performance, which allowed Marussia to get both of its drivers into Q2.

However, by the time Ferrari had sent Alonso and teammate Kimi Raikkonen out, more light rain had began to fall. Both drivers dropped out in Q1, and were joined in the dropzone by the Williams duo of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas.

Alonso believes that the result was down to a combination of bad luck and poor strategy.

“It’s definitely some luck there,” he explained. “As I said, you do the dry tires like Marussia and you are P4, which is fantastic. You do the dry tires and there is this little rain in one corner, and you crash and you are stupid, so it’s a narrow line to be a hero or make a big mistake.

“This is definitely some luck, but it was the same conditions for everybody. As I said, you see two Williams and two Ferraris in the TV ring out of Q1, those two teams did something wrong.”

Although the conditions may have hampered Alonso’s efforts in qualifying today, he is hoping for something similar tomorrow as he has nothing to lose.

“I think mixed conditions will help,” he said. “If it’s a multiple pit stop race, many changes throughout the race, dry-wet-dry-wet-dry-wet, that will help because in one lap you can gain 30 seconds if you’re on the right tires at that moment.

“When you start 19th there is nothing to lose, so we’ll see which type of race we have.”

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

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Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.