Mixed messages from Alonso following Monza qualifying

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Fernando Alonso has expressed his delight over qualifying fifth for tomorrow’s Italian Grand Prix despite appearing to berate his team over the radio during the final qualifying session after Ferrari’s tactics failed to pay off.

With Monza being the fastest circuit on the calendar, it can be highly beneficial for drivers to get in a teammate’s slipstream in order to reduce drag and therefore increase their speed. As they have done in the past two years, Ferrari opted to send their drivers out together on track with Felipe Massa leading from Alonso. By sending them around the circuit line astern, Alonso would benefit from Massa’s slipstream and theoretically post a better time.

However, during their final run, Massa appeared to pull away from Alonso, thus ruining the tactic and forcing the Spanish driver to solely rely on his own pace. He spoke over the radio to his team in Italian, but reports in the paddock from Italian journalists suggest that he may have called his team “stupid” for allowing Massa to pull away.

Eventually, Massa outqualified Alonso to line up in fourth with the Spanish driver fifth. Although the result may appear to be far from ideal for Ferrari, Alonso took to Twitter to express his happiness over his qualifying performance:

In the press session after the race, Alonso insisted that he had thanked his team after qualifying, with this result being a marked improvement from ninth in Belgium last time out.

Alonso had spoken out on Thursday to dismiss any rumors suggesting that he may be unhappy at the team, but this latest incident will only fuel the fire of conspiracy theorists in the paddock.

Gabby Chaves to sub for Joao Barbosa at Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen

Photo: IndyCar
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Gabby Chaves is set to return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Watkins Glen International later this month.

The Columbian-American driver, who last competed in IMSA in 2016 – with the DeltaWing outfit – will sub for the injured Joao Barbosa – he hurt his wrist in a cycling accident earlier in June – in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen.

Chaves will partner Filipe Albuquerque and Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Cadillac.

Chaves expressed gratitude for being asked to fill in, but kept his enthusiasm muted, noting that he is getting the opportunity ultimately because another driver got hurt.

“The first thing is of course that you never want to have an opportunity because someone got hurt, so this is an unfortunate circumstance with Joao having his injury,”said Chaves. “But I appreciate the opportunity to join the championship-leading team. Mustang Sampling Racing has had a strong start this year and hopefully I can help the team continue to have those kinds of results.”

Chaves added, “I love Watkins Glen, it is a great track and I am looking forward to racing the Cadillac Prototype there. I’m excited to be going back to endurance racing. With different classes all racing at the same time, there is a lot for the driver to deal with as you work through traffic. So I am looking forward to racing at the Glen again, and I really appreciate this opportunity with Mustang Sampling Racing.”

Chaves’ most recent IMSA event was the 2016 Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, when he finished seventh in the Prototype class.

The No. 5 Action Express Cadillac currently sits tied with the sister No. 31 Whelen Engineer Racing Cadillac of Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr atop the IMSA standings, though Barbosa’s hopes of a driver’s championship are set to take an enormous hit with him missing Watkins Glen.

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