Aston made “a small step in the right direction” concerning race pace at F1 Saudi Arabian GP — Alonso

Photo Credit: Aston Martin Aramco F1 Team
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Saturday’s race in Jeddah marked a significant improvement for Fernando Alonso compared to the disappointing performance at the season opener in Bahrain when he finished a distant P9 to the top 4 teams.

Despite qualifying fourth, ahead of both the McLaren and Mercedes drivers, the race pace from the Woking-based team was slightly better.

This was evident as Oscar Piastri swiftly passed him early in the race before the Safety Car.

However, Alonso remained content with his fifth-place finish, expressing satisfaction with the car’s performance, stating: “I feel great.

“The race was good. The pace was better than Bahrain.”

He also recognised their ability to compete with McLaren and Mercedes but acknowledged that Red Bull and Ferrari still held an advantage over the next 3 teams: “Still, I think we are faster in qualifying than the race, but we could fight with the McLarens today and the Mercedes.

“I think Red Bull and Ferrari are still one step ahead, but I was comfortable with the car and I’m happy with today’s race. “

While pleased with the race outcome, Alonso remained cautious, emphasising the need for further improvements in race pace, explaing how the Safety Car and Sainz’s appendix surgery helped them.

“Obviously, it is a small step in the right direction, but we still need to make another step, especially on race pace.

“We took advantage also on the safety car. Hamilton and Norris could not stop at the same time as their teammates, and we kept capitalising on that.

“Also, Carlos was injured. So, P5, it tastes really good, and we’re going to Australia. Let’s see.”

Heading to Australia, Alonso reiterated the work they need to do with the AMR24 on race stints to truly start challenging for top 5 finishes consistently.

“I don’t know, I think it’s going to be similar. After these two races, we have a better picture of where we are, what we need to improve. I think one lap pace, we are strong, but not in a race pace yet. So yeah, more work to do, but interesting.”