(Image source; Reuters/ Albert Gea)
It was no surprise when Fernando Alonso became the centre of attention as the Spanish Grand Prix press conference. The McLaren man is a huge figure in Spanish sport but his popularity extends all over the world. His loyal army of fans will be out in force this weekend as he strives to win his third Grand Prix on home soil.
And while these Press conferences can often feel a little routine and short on significant revelations, the Spaniard did at least cause a stir with his comments on Thursday. Particularly when he revealed that he would rather win the Le Mans 24 hour race than another Spanish Grand Prix.
Alonso’s last F1 victory was achieved in Barcelona in 2013 but he was quick to explain: “A couple of years ago I would say the Spanish Grand Prix. Winning a race in Formula 1 is obviously something that we dream for a long time, when you are a go-kart driver and you dream for Formula 1. Now that I have won a couple of times here in Spain, obviously for me it would be winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans, because it’s the biggest race in the world. But I think everyone will have different answers in different parts of his career.”
The other Spaniard behind the desk, Carlos Sainz, talked about the experience of racing in his home Grand Prix in a works team for the first time: “It means a big boost. It has been a good start of the season but that result in Baku definitely has made it a lot better. From now on is keep pushing, keep learning, keep improving the car… keep scoring that kind of result again. Like Checo said, the fifth place is helped a bit by the accident for the Red Bulls and all that – but we need to make sure we keep being the fourth fastest team. The Force India looks like it’s catching up a bit.”
However, he insisted that he was not yet comfortable with the car: “No. No, definitely not. It’s not one hundred per cent confident yet. There’s still things to test, things to adapt to, things to make the car be well-suited to me and it’s something that I’m taking a lot of care of, a lot of effort and a lot of timing and it’s coming little by little and sooner or later it will be one hundred per cent.”
Brendon Hartley was pleased with his first point of the season for in Baku. The Toro Rosso man explained: “Yeah, it was maybe a bit of a relief, in a way because I’d had a couple of opportunities already and didn’t capitalise. Bahrain was the most obvious one where we had a very competitive car. So, it’s nice to finally get that first point. Had a bit of pressure on the last lap from Marcus, closing in the Sauber. Happy I kept it clean, kept it on the road and got my first point.”
Meanwhile, Sergio Perez described his feelings having earned his eighth podium, surpassing the Mexican record of Pedro Rodríguez: “Yeah, it was an amazing result, especially for us this year, it’s been so difficult at the start of the season. So, having… actually they were my first points of the year so it was a massive boost for the team, we’re certainly improving. That podium meant a lot to me. As you say, it’s my eighth podium in my career, but now I’m the most Mexican driver with podiums, so it means a lot. Obviously Pedro… Pedro Rodríguez is a big name in our country, so to share that with him, it’s a massive reward to my career.”
What did you make of Alonso’s comments? Will he still be in F1 next year? Share your views below.