In the shorter Saturday contest, Fernando Alonso, a two-time world champion, started from the 15th position. This was largely an aftermath of not being able to set a time in Q2 due to a red flag triggered by his team-mate Lance Stroll‘s crash. Since he didn’t have track position, Alonso started behind Stroll and he held off for an additional lap prior to ducking in for a pit stop to change his wet tyres for intermediates in the rain-impacted skirmish.
However, his performance took an unfortunate turn on the third lap of the shortened 11-lap race. Pursuing Nico Hulkenberg‘s Haas, Alonso lost control over his Aston Martin AMR23 and ended up spinning into the gravel at Pouhon. This resulted in his retirement from the contest from the 16th position.
Alonso accepted full accountability for the incident. He explained, “I was following very closely behind Nico at the entry to Pouhon. I lost downforce, touched the white line, and just lost the car.” He further added, “Trying to find grip – and guessing the grip levels in each corner – was tricky. It was very slippery, and it was my mistake.”
Aston Martin confirmed that Alonso‘s car escaped any damage despite a slight brush against the barriers. Hulkenberg humorously suggested that Alonso losing control of his car after “enjoying my turbulence” was a sort of “karma hitting back at him.” His comment came in the wake of an altercation between the two on the second lap, when Alonso reentered the track following his pit stop.
The incident saw Alonso being summoned by the stewards for his assertive reentry, resulting in him receiving a warning. The stewards after reviewing the onboard footage observed, “Alonso was exiting the pits and moved over to the left, causing car 27 to have to take action to avoid a collision.” They also noted Alonso‘s explanation, where he stated that he had no rear visibility at the time and had moved to the far left to improve his forward visibility.
While the stewards accepted these explanations, their concern remained: that Alonso‘s move from right to left threatened a potential collision with slower cars remaining on the track. Despite the incident, the Spaniard will start the full Sunday Grand Prix from the ninth place.