Alonso encouraged by ‘bad weekend’ for Aston Martin
By Mat Coch
Monday 1st May, 2023 - 3:25pm
Fernando Alonso was left encouraged following a “bad weekend” for Aston Martin which resulted in a fourth-place finish in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
The two-time world champion missed the podium by 0.8s at the line to chalk up his worst result of the season.
Alonso saw the positives, however, as Aston Martin remained competitive despite a more difficult weekend.
“I’m very happy with the result, of the pace of the car,” he said.
“I think the weekend was not maybe as competitive as the first three races, but even with that I think today in the race, the pace was very good, very strong.
“We challenged for the podium, only one second to Charles [Leclerc], so that’s very encouraging for us.
“In a bad weekend, let’s say, for an Aston, we are fighting for the podium against one of the best weekends for Ferrari.
“They were on pole position on the Sprint race, pole position for the main race, and they were just one second in front of us on Sunday, so good news.”
Alonso climbed four places in the race, one of those coming with an opportunistic move on Carlos Sainz following the Safety Car restart.
The Ferrari driver was wrong-footed after Leclerc ahead was passed by Max Verstappen for second at Turn 3.
Alonso seized the opportunity to dive underneath at Turn 4 to steal the position away.
From there, he managed his tyres through the opening phase of the stint before turning up the pace in the closing 10 laps as he pursued Leclerc.
His cause was aided by a fully functional DRS flap, an element that had caused issues earlier in the weekend.
“It worked today,” he smiled.
“So a lot of speed – I’ve never been that fast for the whole weekend!
“The strength of the car, for whatever reason, is still the tyre degradation which just seems a little bit better than the others.
“Unfortunately, with the Safety Car, we all put the hard tyres on and that tyres was very robust until the end.
“Without that Safety Car, I think the Ferraris were struggling a lot in the first stint.
“Maybe Miami is a better chance for us.”
Alonso remains third in the drivers’ championship with 60 points from the opening three races, while Aston Martin sits second to Red Bull in the constructors’ battle.
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