Alonso declares himself a ‘candidate’ for Monaco pole

Fernando Alonso feels he is in the hunt for pole for the Monaco Grand Prix

Fernando Alonso feels he is in the hunt for pole for the Monaco Grand Prix

Fernando Alonso is confident he is a candidate for pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix after declaring his Aston Martin “easy to drive” around the streets of the Principality.

Alonso has been one of the stand-out performers of the season so far, scoring a quartet of third-place finishes in the five races to date in the wake of the team making considerable performance strides with its car over the winter.

Following Friday practice, Alonso was fourth quickest, finishing 0.220s behind Max Verstappen in his Red Bull as the reigning F1 champion found form in FP2 after a frustrating FP1.

Alonso, however, could have improved considerably but was compromised at one stage on his final hot lap by a crash involving fellow Spanish driver Carlos Sainz in his Ferrari.

Despite that, the 41-year-old declared it “a good day for us” as his team “completed the programme”.

“There were a couple of red flags but it was the same for everybody,” said Alonso. “We did enough laps to get confidence with the car, which is very important here, getting into the rhythm of the weekend.

“The car felt good, easy to drive, which is what you would expect at this kind of circuit, so I’m happy.

“But this car has given me positive things throughout the year. It didn’t disappoint [in practice]. I had fun and I’m ready [for qualifying].”

Mercedes to emerge as season progresses – Alonso

As to his prospects for pole, he added: “Let’s see. There is everything to play, but we should be one of the candidates, yes.”

Alonso had Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc and Sainz between him and Verstappen, with Lewis Hamilton a quarter of a second behind in his upgraded Mercedes.

Alonso is fully expecting Mercedes to come to the fore as the season progresses.

“They were always there, even in race three, Australia, they were outstanding and they finished P2,” assessed Alonso.

“So I think there are going to be ups and downs for everybody all through the season.

“We just have to be consistent, try to deliver every weekend, maximising the points available, knowing and accepting that sometimes we will be quicker than them, sometimes slower, and we still need to make points.”

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