Saudi Arabia GP | Alonso: “Bahrain was not a one-off, and this is very good news for us”

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Photo credit: Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team

Besides all the penalty-shenanigans by the FIA there was actual reason for Aston Martin and Fernando Alonso to be happy about the performance in Jeddah. The Spaniard said they were clearly the second team and had Ferrari and Mercedes well in their pocket, both before and after the safety car.

“[…] The most important thing was to feel the car so strong, because we were the second fastest. We were well ahead of Ferrari, we were controlling the Mercedes. I opened 7 or 8 seconds to George in the first stint and 5 at the end that could be even 10. So we could open like 15 or 20 seconds with Mercedes and more than half a minute with Ferrari.”

To add to that, he was glad that the pace they showed in Bahrain wasn’t a fluke. And where the pace in Sakhir could be assigned to a superior degradation, past weekend’s pace was real. The two-time world champion continued:

“This was unthinkable on Thursday when we came here. It’s true that in Bahrain we were degrading the tyres less than the others and we took advantage of that, but here we had more pace than the others. It was not a tyre thing, so that is very good news.”

“[It’s] a shame that Lance didn’t score points for the constructors, but it seems we are in the fight and Bahrain was not a one-off, and this is very good news for us.”

When asked if he felt they were closer to Red Bull here than in the season opener, Alonso replied that they were. A little bit.

“A little bit closer. I think in Bahrain they were, if they push, very far ahead. And here they were ahead, they were untouchable for sure, but a little bit closer, so that was good. The start, apart from being too much on the left, was good. We led the race, so we have the first picture of Aston Martin leading the Formula 1 field for two laps and hopefully not the last one.”

The logical follow-up question was whether he thought wins were on the table, referring to comments by Max Verstappen who saw potential race winners in the Aston Martin outfit. The man from Oviedo felt that, at least for now, that would need an off-day for Red Bull Racing.

“As I said yesterday, we need some help from them, but it will happen eventually when they cannot finish always first and second, you know? Because one day it’s a pitstop, one day it’s a gearbox. [If] what Max had yesterday he had today, he had to retire the car, so…

“There’s gonna be some circuits that maybe reliability or whatever could help us, and hopefully in those races we take the opportunity.”