Alonso race win ‘definitely on the table’ – Verstappen
By Ian Parkes
Sunday 12th March, 2023 - 2:00pm
Max Verstappen has no doubt Fernando Alonso can end his long wait for his latest F1 grand prix victory this season.
It is approaching the 10-year anniversary of the last of Alonso’s 32 career wins in Formula 1 when, as a then 31-year-old with Ferrari, he took the chequered flag in his home race in Spain.
Despite a two-year sabbatical after retiring at the end of 2018, it is 153 races since Alonso last savoured the winner’s champagne.
Now 41, and following a winter move to Aston Martin, there is a growing feeling he could finally claim F1 victory number 33.
Alonso’s third place in last weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix has fuelled the possibility, although the Spanish driver feels the next two races in Saudi Arabia and Australia will test the ‘too-good-to-be-true’ theory.
Reigning F1 champion Verstappen, who cantered to success in Sakhir, feels Alonso will be a winner again, potentially even a title contender.
“I hope so for Fernando because he has had a few years where there was not really a possibility to fight at the front,” said Verstappen, who was “happy” to have Alonso alongside him on the podium.
“At Aston Martin, they really have the spirit and drive. They want to win and they’ve hired a lot of good people, so I guess it can only get better for them.
“For this year, it’s difficult to say if they’re going to challenge for the championship, but race wins are definitely on the table.”
At this stage, Red Bull appears to be in a class of its own as Verstappen and team-mate Sergio Perez were barely troubled en route to a one-two finish.
Alonso finished almost 39 seconds off the pace, suggesting Aston Martin still has a considerable amount of work to do if it is to impose itself on Red Bull and Verstappen.
The Dutch driver, however, feels certain circumstances could open up for Alonso to win again.
“I’ve been in the same position, where some races I’ve finished 20 to 40 seconds behind the winner and you still win two or three races a year,” said Verstappen.
“That’s because sometimes there are some tracks which really suit your car and everything just comes together, and then you can win a race with maybe a bit of help or luck.
“But for sure they (Aston Martin) have a really strong package. Now, of course, it’s all about developing it further.”
Perez concurred with Verstappen. The Mexican driver said: “I’m happy to see Aston and Fernando up here.
“It’s been a tremendous effort, and it’s great to see Fernando, in his first race for the team, on the podium.
“They certainly have a very good car and they will be a contender, for sure, at a few tracks.
“You know that the seasons in Formula 1 are extremely long, so anything can happen.”
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