Saudi Arabian GP | Alonso says “it is tempting to think of victory”, after securing front-row start

Spread the love

Aston Martin’s two-time champion got an important front-row after Leclerc’s penalty but thinks his battle is with the cars behind.

Photo: Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team

Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso, coming from a podium in Bahrain, conquers a second place on the grid for the Saudi Arabian GP. The Spaniard will start alongside Sergio Perez after Max Verstappen suffered from reliability issues in Q2.

This result comes after speculations about Aston Martin’s pace on a medium to a high-speed circuit. It was expected that the AMR23 would fall short against rivals Ferrari and Mercedes, but the team could guarantee a third and a sixth place, a double top 5 start when Charles Leclerc’s 10-place grid penalty for changing the third CE unit is applied.

When asked if he expected the result, after being in the top 3 for all the free practice sessions, Alonso said:

“No, I didn´t believe so, because qualifying comes and you always wait for everyone to make that little bit more. And for us, it was important after Bahrein having another reference. We made the winter test in Bahrein and the first race in Bahrein, it was the first time that the 2023 cars saw another circuit, so being competitive here fills us with energy and takes weight off our shoulders, to see that the cars also goes fast here.”

About his expectations for the race, and where the AMR23 would be compared to their rivals, the Spaniard replied:

“I see them [Red Bull] far, I think that in pure race pace, they are in another league. I think that in FP3 I was third and was nine-tenths behind Verstappen, so they are really strong. Even Max starting out fifteenth for sure gets to the podium or overtakes us, is going to fight even for the win. Checo not to fall asleep because Max comes.

Photo: Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team

“So we will see what can be done, I think the fight is more on our mirrors, with Ferrari, with Mercedes, with Alpine. Both Aston Martins are starting in the top 5 and if we could score that amount of points we should be really happy.

“Our strength in this package has been in the long runs, so hopefully we can optimize this as much as possible tomorrow. It is very tight between a number of teams so tomorrow will be an interesting battle for sure.

“It is tempting to think of victory, logically. But without any mechanical gremlins to both Red Bulls is not feasible. So we will make a simple race, without any mistakes, to add points to our tally.”