Alonso: AMR24 has “lap to lap inconsistency” as he qualifies P10 with damage for F1 Australian GP

Photo Credit: Aston Martin Aramaco F1 Team
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After a good round in Jeddah, in which he qualified P4 and finished P5 ahead of George Rusell’s Mercedes in the race, Fernando Alonso and Aston Martin seem to be struggling quite a bit this weekend in Melbourne.

Free practice had started with a P18 in the first session following a big moment at turn 10, that became better in FP2 and FP3 where he finished respectively in fifth and sixth.

Nonetheless, it was a useful run for the team to test out the set-up of the AMR-24 and decide that the new front wing flaps were the best suitable option for this qualifying.

“Generally, I think we feel a little bit less competitive this weekend,” he said at the end of qualifying.

“FP1, FP2 and FP3 was not as fast as Jeddah for example. We were P1 in FP2 and P2 in FP3 in Jeddah and it was not the case here.

“So yeah, a little of a more problematic weekend in terms of pace and then in Q3 not ideal.” 

The Spaniard was supposed to complete two runs in the final part of qualifying, was it not for the fact that he went off and into the gravel on his first Q3 attempt. He managed to get back on track and do another lap, but the car was suffering floor damage and P10 was the best he could get out of this last run.

“On the first attempt I went out in Turn 6, in the gravel and then with the last new set of tyres I was not fully confident anymore in the car, I could not trust,” he explained. 

“A little bit tricky in Q3, Q1 and Q2 depends how many sets you use, it can look a little bit better or worse. Yeah, I think we need to find more pace.”

“The car is just lacking grip, too much sliding, a little bit too sensitive as well to the wind, lap to lap inconsistency, but I think it’s the same for everybody.”

Looking forward to tomorrow’s race, however, the two-time F1 World Champion believes things will not be easy for anyone, given the nature of the circuit that is rather challenging for tyre management and not only that. 

“A lot of safety cars, a lot of things always going on in Melbourne,” he recalled.

Last year’s Grand Prix is a good example of that. The race started with a red flag as Alex Albon crashed at turn 6, only to be halted again a few laps from the end as Kevin Magnussen crashed at turn 2, leaving a wheel loose on the circuit.   

The race ended with a finish behind the Safety Car, following a third red flag that saw both Alpines, Nyck de Vries and Logan Sargeant finish with a retirement as chaos ensued at turns 1 and 2.

Alonso himself was pushed into a spin by Carlos Sainz – who later received a penalty that raised quite a few eyebrows – and ultimately stepped into the podium alongside Lewis Hamilton and winner Max Verstappen.

“I think it’s not gonna be an easy race for the tyres, I think graining is a concern for everybody, let’s see if we can manage the tyres a little bit better than others.

“We start with both cars in the top 10, in the points and we want to finish in the points with both cars.”