Fernando Alonso explains the strategies he employed to defend against Sergio Perez in their Brazil GP battle.
The two-time Champion is well known for his defensive capabilities, though his efforts at Interlagos were impressive even by his standards. Not only was a faster car kept behind, but he took advantage of the smallest window of opportunity on lap 72 to re-take third place.
At a circuit with significant straights and overtaking opportunities, his efforts were truly brilliant. A crucial element of Alonso’s success was the use of unorthodox racing lines.
This is something the Spaniard does on a regular basis, often experimenting with different approaches. In Brazil, he consistently used wider lines – both out of the last corner and in the middle corner.
Not only did this bear fruit in terms of pure lap time, but it also acted as a way to protect his tyres. In a race where several drivers struggled with degradation, this was significant.
Alonso explains his defensive approach
Speaking to the media post-race, the Spaniard outlined how these unorthodox racing lines were used defensively:
“In the lines, we were just changing lines sometimes. I didn’t want to be always on the same line, if possible, like this.
“If he goes on the inside, I was from time to time on the inside. And from time to time on the outside.
“So it was not a clear direction for him to change the racing line and take the opportunity for some clean air.
“So I was just trying to get some turbulence to his front nose.”
When faced with a very difficult situation, it was imperative for Alonso to think creatively. With the relatively inferior tools at his disposal, he secured a crucial result for Aston Martin.
Perhaps more than any other podium in 2023, this result was crucial for Team Silverstone. Failed upgrades and season-low results have characterised the team’s last two months.
Understandably, this creates concern ahead of 2024. Provided Aston Martin can keep this momentum and better understand their direction of development, there is hope yet for next season.
As evidenced on several occasions in this year’s campaign, they have a driver in Alonso who will maximise their machinery.