Being in the podium fight “feels too good to be true” for Fernando Alonso

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When he suddenly left Alpine to join Aston Martin Fernando Alonso might have had good hopes, but he could definitely not have dreamed of the AMR23 to be such a competitive car.

Since his debut in green he has been the talk of the paddock – from an impressive performance in testing to topping the first two Free Practice sessions of the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend, up until Saturday’s qualifying.

His fastest lap in Q3 was good enough to secure P5 on the starting grid ahead of the Mercedeses, very close to Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari and no more than 0.628s from the Red Bull of poleman Max Verstappen.

“In practice we knew that we were around third or fifth or fourth,” Alonso explained to media after qualifying.

“It was amazing, the whole weekend has been unreal for us. It was like too good to be true every session and every performance of the car.”

“And then in qualifying, our expectation was to be around half a second from Red Bull, so it was quite right.”

Last season Aston closed 7th in the constructor’s standings with a total of 77 points, less than half than AlphaTauri standing only one position higher and quite far from the top teams.

“Again, it feels so strange for me to say that we start P5 and maybe we are aiming for more. Because we thought to be honest that the first three teams were untouchable this year with the advantage they had last year, and maybe we try to lead the midfield mix.”

“But now we’re saying that we start P5 and maybe we fight with the Ferraris for the podium, so this is just incredible.”

“I don’t know even what to say because eight months ago the project was just a test bed, but now to be at race one with a completely new car, which I think we need still to unlock a lot of potential to be in the top five, fighting with Ferrari, Mercedes, it seems a little bit unreal.”

But the good performance we have seen so far can translate into a podium finish in the season opener for the Spaniard?

“Let’s see, yes. I’m laughing because going for a podium in race one, it feels too good to be true,” Alonso replied.

“But for sure, what we saw so far on our car and also historically Aston Martin has a very good tyre management. So yeah, if we have an opportunity for sure we will take it.”

“Let’s keep working, keep our feet in the ground and execute the race the best way possible: no mistakes, good start, good stops and let’s see where we are. But so far, we are living our dream.”

Photo credits: Aston Martin F1 Team