A FRUSTRATED Fernando Alonso vented his anger with McLaren in a number of heated radio transmissions following another weekend to forget for the double world champion and his hapless team.
Alonso was all smiles earlier this week after he announced he would be missing next month’s Monaco Grand Prix to compete at the Indianapolis 500. And the break from Formula One probably cannot come soon enough for the 35-year-old who has now failed to finish any of the opening three races following yet another retirement in Bahrain.
Alonso, who spent much of the race trading spots with Briton’s Jolyon Palmer and the Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat for the minor places, took aim at McLaren’s beleaguered engine supplier Honda.
“How they can overtake me? They’re 300m behind me and they overtake me on the straight, I’ve never raced with less power in my life,” Alonso fumed over the radio. Later, the Spaniard was told his team was weighing up a different strategy.
“Do whatever you want, man,” he replied, clearly disheartened with how the race was unfolding.
Alonso’s misery was compounded when he parked his McLaren following an engine failure. His teammate Stoffel Vandoorne did not even start the race after he, too, fell at the mercy of further woes with McLaren’s Honda engine. “It was a frustrating race,” Alonso said.
“The deficit in power and performance we had on the straights today was amazing.
“Sometimes I looked in the mirrors at the beginning of the straights and saw the other cars 300, 400m behind, so I forgot completely about that car and started changing settings on the steering wheel and doing my own things, then the next thing I see when I come on the brakes is that car alongside me.
“We were running close to the points but that’s not enough. Today we never had the pace we had in Australia and China and, in the end, we had a problem and we decided to retire the car.”
A miserable start to 2017 is taking its toll on Alonso, and while he lamented how his weekend ended, he had calmed down sufficiently after the race to focus on what will hopefully be an improvement in the near future.
“It’s frustrating. When the red lights go off you’re motivated and you start fighting, but you’re so behind on the straights that there’s no way you can defend your position. You fight in a fair way with everyone, but you don’t enjoy the battle,” Alonso said.
“Everyone in the team has been working very hard over this weekend, day and night, and I’m sorry for Stoffel who has had so much bad luck all weekend and then didn’t even start today’s race.
“But we’ll keep working hard, and we hope to improve in due course.”
FERRARI RISES TO THE TOP
Sebastian Vettel is back on top of the Formula One standings and his Ferrari team is bursting with ambition again. A couple of hours after Vettel had held off his Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton to win an exciting Bahrain Grand Prix — the German driver’s second victory in three races — Ferrari’s chairman spoke with new-found confidence.
“It is, of course, hugely satisfying to be back on the top step of the podium,” Sergio Marchionne said. “More importantly, however, we are now completely confident that our victory in Melbourne wasn’t just a one-off and that we will be at the forefront of this world championship until the last (race).”
Vettel is chasing his fifth world title and is seven points ahead of three-time champion Hamilton in the drivers’ standings, while Ferrari is three points in front of Mercedes in the constructors’ race.
The renewed optimism is in contrast to last year, when Ferrari did not even win a race and where Vettel drew more attention for his frustrated outbursts during actual races rather than his driving.
Ferrari won the last of its 15 drivers’ titles through Kimi Raikkonen in 2007, and the last of its 16 constructors’ titles a year later. A demoralising drought for such a fiercely proud team, certainly, but this year promises to be different.
“We finally have a competitive car to count on and it is important to recognise the speed with which we implemented the developments,” Marchionne said. “My compliments not just to Seb for his achievements in Bahrain, but also to the whole team.”
It is the first time Ferrari has won two of the first three races of the season since Raikkonen and Felipe Massa in 2008, while the last time a single Ferrari driver won two of the opening three races was Michael Schumacher in 2004.
Vettel’s 44th career win puts him in command, heading into the Russian GP in Sochi in two weeks’ time.
“We just have to make sure we keep it going,” Vettel said. “But for now the team has done a really, really great job.”
SOURCE: newsnow sport