Alonso explains curiosity behind Jeddah and Melbourne visits
By Ian Parkes
Friday 10th March, 2023 - 10:23pm
Fernando Alonso believes the next two F1 grands prix in Jeddah and Melbourne will prove if Aston Martin’s start to the season is too good to be true.
The hype surrounding the team following pre-season testing in Bahrain was reinforced following Sunday’s race at the same circuit where Alonso scored only his second podium in nine years.
Alonso took the chequered flag in third behind a Red Bull one-two spearheaded by reigning champion Max Verstappen.
The 41-year-old’s team-mate Lance Stroll finished a remarkable sixth despite breaking both wrists and sustaining other injuries during a bike ride whilst pre-season training in Spain.
Alonso claims to have never felt as positive after an opening race since 2013 in his fourth season with Ferrari, and, in particular that year, after what was his last victory, on home soil in Barcelona, which led to him leading the championship.
Alonso feels the Saudi Arabian and Australian Grands Prix will allay any lingering doubts as to the genuine pace and performance of the AMR23.
As to whether he has reset his expectations in light of his result in Bahrain, Alonso said: “Let’s see.
“I have the same feeling from testing, like it’s too good to be true and you’re always expecting that something will take you a step back and you will get back to reality.
“But the performance seems real, so let’s see in Jeddah. I am curious to go to Jeddah and Australia.
“They are very different circuits, high-speed corners, very little degradation. In Bahrain, we were strong in areas we maybe don’t find in Jeddah and Australia.
“So, if we are strong in the next two races, I think we will have a very good 2023.”
Alonso dreaming of F1 win No.33
The result in Bahrain has naturally raised expectations Alonso can finally end his long wait for F1 victory number 33.
It is now 153 races and counting since the two-time champion last stood on top of the podium.
Alonso concedes he is again starting to think about that elusive triumph.
“When you are P3 in race one, there are 22 opportunities this season,” assessed Alonso.
“Even last year, I remember in Canada, wet qualifying, we (Alpine) were on the first row of the grid.
“You know, anything can happen in 22 races with different conditions. And, I will try my best to have the opportunity.
“Maybe we need some help. Last year, we needed some help from the top teams just to get to the podium.
“Maybe this year, if there is this help or there is some retirements in front of us or some problems, maybe it’s more than a podium.
“So let’s hope for that.”
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