Fernando Alonso endured another lonely race at today’s Austrian Grand Prix as he crossed the line in fifth place, some eighteen seconds behind race winner Nico Rosberg.
The Spaniard has been making the most of his lacklustre Ferrari F14 T car this season, and currently lies fourth in the drivers’ championship after eight rounds.
Today, he continued his record of scoring points in every race so far, but struggled to match the Mercedes cars out in front and the Williams pair of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa, who finished third and fourth respectively.
Alonso appeared to improve his pace in the second half of today’s grand prix, and nearly caught Massa at the end. However, he says that the cars ahead were not running at their full speed, thus exaggerating his own pace.
“First of all the cars ahead had Perez slowing the group and we were catching up,” he explained. “They seemed to use the maximum power only a few laps in the race and they have so much advantage that they play with it a little bit.
“With Massa in the end, when I was close, he pulled away. Same with Hamilton on the first lap, it was unbelievable the difference between the two cars.
“I think if they ran with those settings every lap they would have lapped everyone, but they cannot do for the whole race.”
Once again though, Alonso was Ferrari’s top finisher in Austria. His teammate, Kimi Raikkonen, was largely anonymous during today’s race, save for one amusing radio call where he complained about a lack of power. The Finn crossed the line in tenth place.
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.