Fernando Alonso qualified ninth for the Styrian Grand Prix but will start eighth thanks to Yuki Tsunoda’s post-qualifying penalty, and the Alpine driver said he’s tapped into a rich vein of confidence to produce another strong Saturday result.
Having logged just two top 10 starts in the first five Grands Prix, Alonso has now secured his third consecutive top 10 start with P9 at the Red Bull Ring. Tsunoda’s three-place grid penalty boosted his starting position to eighth, with Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll and Williams’ George Russell also enjoying a promotion.
Asked if he was more confident, given another run into the top 10 on Saturday, Alonso replied: “I am happier. I am definitely confident now with the car, able to feel the tyres more to be able to extract the maximum on Saturdays. Sundays, they were not a problem even at the beginning of the year but Saturdays, they were, and now I feel a little bit better.
“But it was a difficult Saturday, I think, for everybody. We felt more competitive yesterday than today. FP3, it was already a sign that we lost a bit of performance today. And yes, in quali there is no room for a mistake; within two tenths, everybody, it’s quite stressful – and also the track limits in the last two corners. So, this was adding pressure for everybody but happy with top 10, [and I am] happy with ninth,” he added.