Fernando Alonso on “very intense” F1 qualifying and starting P5: “Quite close to the podium fight”

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The upgrade package introduced this week by Aston Martin appears to have had a positive impact on the performance of the car, as Fernando Alonso qualified in the top five for the first time since the Canadian GP.

Alonso comfortably made his way through the wet Q1 and Q2, then putting in a good time in the challenging conditions faced in Q3. In fact, as the track began to dry out, drivers attempted to switch to softs, which proved to be a challenge with Sargeant and Leclerc ending their session in the wall.

In spite of ending up with only one shot at setting a time due to the red flags, the two times World Champion managed to place the AMR23 in P5, and will start tomorrow’s Dutch GP alongside Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz.

“Yeah, we are getting used to these qualifying, wet dry, wet dry. It was easy to make a mistake again, so happy to finish in P5. The position is very strong, quite close to the podium fight,” said Alonso after the end of the qualifying session, commenting on the mixed weather and the impact it had on his performance.

After a strong debut with the Silverstone-based team, scoring six podiums at the beginning of the season, the last few race were maybe less impressive but still very consistent, with two top 5 finishes in the last four rounds and always in the points starting from the bottom of Q3.

“The last two events, we were P8 and P9 so it’s definitely a step forward, but it was very stressful in Qualifying. Especially in Q3, when you put the dry tyres and you’re in a track that is just two meters wide, and you need to perform and try a timed lap, but the track is just two meters, it is very intense.”

The impact the freshly-introduced upgrades had on their performance was consistent according to the former Renault driver, who also praised his team’s hard work and very strong effort needed to bring them in Zandvoort right after the summer break:

“Yesterday we were lucky with the dry practices, so we did all our tests. Feeling-wise, the car feels better, but the data confirmed that the new upgrades was working as expected in the wind tunnel, so definitely a step forward. I think that P5 today is also thanks to that extra performance that we had in the car.

“Thanks to everyone in the factory, I know that they have been working really flat out in July, we had the four races in July, plus the work in the factory to produce these parts, because in August with the factory being closed we couldn’t make any steps. So, everything was made in July and it was a very intense month for everyone.”

Photo credit: Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team