Alonso: “We had more in the pocket” after turn 1 spin hampered F1 Las Vegas GP

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The two-time World Champion didn’t have the easiest weekend in the United States, but ultimately managed to score points in Las Vegas in spite of his first lap mistake.

After qualifying in P10, Alonso started from P9 due to Carlos Sainz’s grid penalty for taking up new components, but he was among the drivers involved in the mayhem at Turn 1 at the start of the race, spinning as he tried to overtake Logan Sargeant.

Nonetheless, the Aston Martin driver was able to make up for the time lost at the start and in the pits for a change of front wing, ending the race in P9 for a double points finish for Aston Martin, as Lance Stroll reached the top 5 again after the São Paulo GP.

He explained the dynamics of his Lap 1 crash in a post-race interview, even if he wasn’t exactly sure about how things went down:

“I lost the car, I didn’t know if I was in a sandwich between two cars or if I was alone, I haven’t seen the television yet, but I lost the car.

“When I was facing the wrong way, I thought that for sure the race was over, but thanks to the safety car I was lucky to rejoin the group and race form there.”

Photo credits: Aston Martin Aramaco Cognizant F1 Team

After such a poor start, the former Ferrari and Renault driver wasn’t completely disappointed by his lower top ten finish, although he is sure that the AMR23 had the potential to end the race further up the grid, as proven by his teammate:

“On the final result, obviously I’m happy to take some points after the Lap 1 incident, but probably we had more in the pocket today.”

The Spanish driver mentioned that among the reasons which aided his comeback race from last on the grid after his spin, was the fact that he hadn’t really damaged his car, apart from the front wing which was promptly replaced. Valtteri Bottas had gently nudged it twice as he had nowhere to go to avoid Alonso’s AMR23.

“No, only the front nose, but we changed it at the pit stop, so yeah, the car was working fine.”

A key talking point of the weekend were the drivers’ opinions and feedback on the inaugural round in Las Vegas, which were definitely mixed.

As per Alonso, he was positively impressed by the new location, and especially by the racing it provided, even if there are definitely some points that need to be covered and improved by the time Formula 1 is back here in 2024:

“I think it was OK overall, you know? It was a fun race from the car, from the outside, I think, as well. Obviously, the track grip is still extremely low, and that will be a thing that we would love to improve.”

With some of the lowest track temperatures ever recorded in the sport, around 10-20°C, heating the tyres was rather difficult for him and his colleagues, with many of them mentioning the issue on the radio especially during the safety cars, correlating it to its slow speed:

“Especially on a street circuit with these temperatures, it’s like driving on ice when the tyres are cold, but it’s the same for everybody, and I think the facilities, the energy on the grid and things like that — it was good.”

Las Vegas has signed a deal with Liberty Media to stay on the Formula 1 calendar until 2032, there will be more than enough time for the race organizers to take up the drivers ‘suggestions, as it has happened already at some other freshly introduced race locations:

“I’m sure that the second year is going to be better, it happened in Miami as well, big difference year one year two, so let’s give it some time. But, so far so good in Vegas,” he concluded.

Aston Martin will enter the final race week of the year still in the fight with McLaren for P4 in the constructors’ standings, with the Woking-based team holding the spot with an eleven points advantage on Alonso’s team.