Fernando Alonso’s race engineer had a brutal response for his driver after the Aston Martin racer asked about the state of Mercedes during the Brazilian Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton and George Russell collected a combined four points during Sunday’s Interlagos outing.
Alonso found himself involved in a tussle with Lewis Hamilton at the race restart after a crash between Alex Albon and Kevin Magnussen brought out the red flag after the opening lap. The Spaniard won out that particular battle, passing the Mercedes driver with a move down the inside at the end of the Reto Oposta.
As the Aston Martin driver disappeared up the road in pursuit of second-placed Lando Norris, Hamilton slipped back into the clutches of Sergio Perez, who had already broken out of the DRS train and overtaken his Mercedes team-mate, George Russell.
With Alonso sitting pretty in a podium position, he came onto the team radio to ask “What happened to Mercedes?” His race engineer had a brutal reply lined up, simply responding: “They’re dying.”
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The seven-time world champion was later passed by Alonso’s under-fire team-mate Lance Stroll, as well as Carlos Sainz and Pierre Gasly. When the chequered flag waved, Hamilton crossed the line in P8, rounding off a miserable weekend for the Silver Arrows.
There was even more cause for upset on the other side of the Mercedes garage. An unhappy Russell had slumped to the fringes of the points before an engine cooling issue forced him to retire his W14 in the closing stages of the race.
Alonso, meanwhile, held onto his podium with some help from last-lap heroics in a battle against Perez. The 42-year-old had been demoted to P4 heading into the final lap but replicated his move on Hamilton at the Reta Oposta before holding on in the run to the line.
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Discussing his battle with Perez after the chequered flag, Alonso said: “For me, it was like 30 laps when I had the pressure from Checo! When he passed me two laps to the end, I thought ‘Okay, this is gone, the podium is not possible anymore’.
“But he braked a little bit late into [turn one] and I thought ‘Okay, I go for it’ into [turn] four!’ This is a phenomenal result for the team. We have been struggling for a couple of months, especially the last two events with two retirements. So this podium is for them and the whole factory. We keep fighting until the last lap.”
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