Alonso says Aston Martin “completely out of position for tomorrow” as he starts a superb P3 for F1 Chinese GP

Photo Credits: Aston Martin Aramco F1 Team
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China has had so far many emotions in store for the Aston Martin driver. Starting the earlier Sprint race from P3, he had to retire due to a puncture following a collision with Carlos Sainz in the final stages of the race.

However, the Spaniard had another impressive performance up his sleeve, as he secured a P3 start for the upcoming full length race in Shanghai, after being in P2 with his previous attempt.

In spite of a small mistake in the early stages of his final flying lap, Alonso kept pushing, and was he rewarded with a very positive starting position, as he recalled in the post-qualifying press conference:

It was very good, but not perfect. I had a moment Turn 1 and 2. I lost the car. And actually, in Turn 3, I was just thinking if it was better to abort the lap and come in, or keep on going.

“And I said I will brake very late into 6, try to recover that time. I recovered one tenth and I said, ‘OK, I keep going’.

“I recovered another tenth in Turns 9 and 10. And I said, ‘OK, now let’s go for the final two corners’.

“And it was very much needed, because within two tenths there are like six cars, and we are leading that group of those two tenths, so happy with the lap, happy with qualifying.”

Asked if without his mistake he could have achieved a front row start, Alonso was on the fence, while acknowledging the fact that both sides of the track and positions are great to start from, as seen in the earlier Sprint Race when Lewis Hamilton took the lead form P2.

“I don’t know, we just check now the times and it’s like two tenths between Checo and myself. It’s more or less what I lost. So yeah, it would have been close with Checo.

“But it doesn’t change too much to be P2, P3. We are completely out of position for tomorrow with whatever position we are.

“I think seventh, eighth, ninth is our natural order tomorrow when we see the chequered flag, but we are qualifying extremely well this year and we’ll take it.

“I started P3 this morning, and it didn’t seem to have a big difference actually. Lewis started P2 and had a great start, so I think both sides are the same.

“It’s more into 1, 2, and 3, all the action, and hopefully a clean start and we can finish the race,” added the former McLaren driver on his expectations for tomorrow.

The two-time World Champion is realistic, admitting his AMR24 might not have the pace needed in order to convert his starting position in what would be his first podium of 2024, but believes the strong qualifying is a morale boost for the Silverstone-based team.

“These kind of laps and moments are very encouraging for the future. Happy for the team, proud of all of them. We never give up.

“We are not in a strong position yet, especially on race conditions, we are still maybe the fourth, fifth fastest team, but we still fighting to be better and better and today’s result shows that.”

With Lance Stroll not making missing out on Q3 by 0.069s after his nightmare showing in Japan, Aston Martin’s qualifying pace appears to be significantly strong.

However, Alonso isn’t as confident while discussing his and his team’s race pace, mentioning how many drivers starting behind him have the potential to do better. In the sprint, he was holding up the Ferraris, Perez and Norris before the incident with his fellow Spanish driver.

The 42-year-old also voiced his displeasure over the penalty received in the Sprint for forcing Carlos Sainz off track as they battled for P3.

“I expect a difficult race. I mean, we are slower than the Ferraris, slower than the McLarens and probably the Mercedes. We are qualifying ahead of them often, and then in the race we just need to wait and see.

“When they come, how fast they come and how many laps we can defend those positions. But it happened so far in the first four races, so I guess this fifth race is going to be no different.

“So yeah, I expect a race that is going to be difficult for us. But you know, we can’t say sorry for being too fast in qualifying, so let’s take it.

“And then in in this morning  I received a penalty which obviously, I will not agree, but they have all the power to do what they think is is right and we have to accept it and move on.”