Alpine’s Fernando Alonso admitted that he felt “a little sad” having to battle with Williams’ driver George Russell for P10, which the Spaniard said felt like the last lap of the championship for the two of them.
He praised the young Briton, labeling him a future world champion, and that he had the potential to be on the podium and fight for race wins.
“In a way when I saw it was George, I felt a little bit sad the battle had to be with him,” Alonso admitted. “I think he will have the opportunity to stand on the podium and fight for race wins, I guess in the future if he goes to Mercedes.”
Alonso also said that he was happy with the performance and that despite starting from P14, he finished in P10, something he claimed the simulations undervalued.
“It was not only yesterday that the car was performing well. I think it was also today, so this weekend, for different reasons, we seem more competitive,” Alonso commented.
“I enjoyed today. One point starting 14th was not expected, as our simulations this morning, they were a little more pessimistic than P10. I will take the point.”
Alonso’s P10 meant a finish in the points for the fourth consecutive race after exiting in Q2 due to traffic on Saturday.
On the other hand, Russell also spoke highly of the battle for P10, commenting that despite the fact that he was powerless to defend against Alonso at the end, he was glad to have held his own while battling the two-time world champion.
The Williams driver was on the verge of scoring points for the British outfit for the first time since the 2019 German Grand Prix but narrowly missed out in the end with 5 laps to go.
“I’ve been in F1 for three years now, but that was the first time I’ve really battled with anybody,” Russell said after the race. “I’ve had a couple of overtakes here and there, but I’ve never had a wheel-to-wheel battle, so I’m pleased that I held my own and didn’t do anything crazy or silly.”
“If you could choose anybody to have behind you in that situation, you wouldn’t choose Fernando. He didn’t make it easy,” Russell concluded.