F1: Fernando Alonso employed qualifying mode throughout Canadian Grand Prix to fend off Lewis Hamilton’s advances

Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso has confessed that he adopted a qualifying mentality throughout the Canadian Grand Prix in order to keep his Mercedes rival, Lewis Hamilton, at bay and secure second position.

Hamilton made an impressive surge ahead of Alonso at the start of the race, claiming P2 behind Max Verstappen’s leading Red Bull. However, this marked only the beginning of a gripping battle that persisted until the checkered flag. Both drivers switched from medium to hard tires during the early Safety Car period, and Alonso closed the gap on Hamilton when racing resumed. The Spanish driver then comfortably overtook Hamilton along the long straight before the final chicane.

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As Hamilton switched back to medium tires and Alonso opted for additional sets of hard tires during their second pit stops, it was Hamilton who showcased superior pace in the final laps. Nevertheless, Alonso successfully defended his position against his former teammate, securing second place.

When asked if the race unfolded as he anticipated, Alonso replied, “Probably, yes. I think we were hoping to challenge the Red Bull a little more, but we lost a position at the start to Lewis. Then it was a battle with the Mercedes, and Lewis was pushing throughout the race. I didn’t have a single lap where I could relax a bit, so it was an incredible battle.”

He further elaborated, saying, “At the beginning, I had a slight advantage in pace, and towards the end, I think Lewis had a slight edge. It was tough—a demanding race, with all 70 laps feeling like qualifying today.”

Alonso was also questioned about being instructed to “lift and coast” during the final stint due to apparent brake concerns. He responded, “I don’t know exactly; they didn’t tell me. Maybe it was to prevent me from worrying too much. I felt the car was fine, but I simply followed the instructions. Hopefully, this indicates that we have a bit more pace, so in the next race, we can apply additional pressure on Max.”

While Alonso achieved his sixth podium finish in eight races with Aston Martin, his teammate Lance Stroll contributed to the team’s success by recovering from a post-qualifying grid penalty and climbing from 16th to ninth, securing a double points finish for the outfit.