Alonso hails ‘unreal’ Bahrain qualifying for Aston Martin

Fernando Alonso qualified fifth for Aston Martin in Bahrain

Fernando Alonso qualified fifth for Aston Martin in Bahrain

Fernando Alonso was in a buoyant mood after qualifying fifth fastest for Sunday’s F1 Bahrain Grand Prix.

Aston Martin emerged as a dark horse during pre-season testing last week and has carried that momentum into the opening round of the season.

Alonso topped two of the three free practice sessions prior to qualifying before booking himself a berth on the third row of the grid.

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

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

Alonso joined Aston Martin after two seasons with Alpine, a move many at the time considered a backward step for the two-time world champion.

The Silverstone operation has undergone aggressive recruitment and expansion in recent times, including the high-profile appointment of aerodynamics guru Dan Fallows – previously Adrian Newey’s understudy at Red Bull.

That has seen the operation take significant strides over the latter part of 2022 and the start of 2023, with predictions Alonso could be a race winner this season.

So far, the weekend to date in Bahrain serves only to underscore that possibility.

“The whole weekend has been unreal for us,” Alonso said.

“It was like too good to be true, every session and every performance of the car.

“In qualifying, our expectation was to be around half a second from Red Bull.

“I think we are half a second or six tenths from pole position.

“Again, it feels so strange for me to say that,” he added.

“We start P5 and maybe we are aiming for more.

“We thought, to be honest, that the first three teams they were untouchable this year with the advantage they had last year.

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

“So yeah, let’s keep working, keep the 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.”

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