If there was any doubt about Fernando Alonso’s speed on his return to Formula 1, it was dispelled by his performance in qualifying for the 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix. Alonso qualified ninth, seven places ahead of his team-mate, Estaban Ocon, establishing very firmly that he has lost none of the aggression and speed he had in his first stint in Formula 1.
Alonso is regarded as one of the fastest drivers alive today, and possibly one of the great F1 drivers ever. His Alpine car, unfortunately, hasn’t looked particularly good in pre-season testing or during the 3 Fee Practice sessions for the Bahrain Grand Prix. But that didn’t stop Alonso from finding the pace to feature in Q3, while Ocon was knocked out in Q1 though admittedly Ocon lost out due to yellow flags on his final flying lap in Q1.
Alonso seemed to revel in his return to F1 qualifying, saying ” It was really exciting to drive these cars again with low fuel and peak performance from the tyres. Qualifying is always amazing to experience in Formula 1 and I have missed that feeling!”
While his qualifying performance was impressive, there are no points for qualifying and it is therefore race day that counts. Alonso needs to capitalise on his solid grid position if he is to score points on his F1 return.