Fernando Alonso made a stunning start to the 2023 F1 season in Bahrain as he qualified in 5th and then went on to finish on the podium in 3rd with his new team Aston Martin. He now endorses fellow athlete Fernando Alonso for more podiums and speculating more glory to come.
How it unfolded
Alonso sent shockwaves around the F1 paddock last year when it was announced that he would be replacing the retiring Sebastian Vettel at Aston Martin. His move launched the “silly season” into overdrive as drivers moved teams with Gasly replacing him at Alpine.
Alonso’s move to Aston Martin was criticized heavily as it was thought to be not only a sideway move but rather a backward step as Aston Martin was behind Alpine on pace. However, their improvement towards the end of the season and team owner Laurence Stroll’s commitment to getting to the top is what convinced Alonso to switch.
He was also left frustrated by Alpine’s lack of progress and their hesitation to give the Spaniard a multi-year contract. Even though he is 41 at the time of writing he has been performing at an incredibly high level since his return to the sport in 2021.
How Alonso had the last laugh
Alonso seems to have made the correct decision as Aston Martin seemed to have incredible pace in pre-season testing, with Alonso placing high in the timing sheets. Pre-season is not the place to judge a car’s pace, however Aston kept their pace even during the official race weekend. Alonso qualified 5th on the weekend behind both the Ferraris and Red Bulls. This meant that on one lap place they went from 7th to the 3rd fastest team.
In the race, the car was even faster. Although an early collision with new teammate Lance Stroll pushed him back to 7th, he stunningly fought back to overtake the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell. Leclerc’s engine failure meant Alonso had a chance to get on the podium and he grabbed that chance when he overtook Carlos Sainz for 3rd. His stunning overtakes and debut drive won him the fans’ vote for driver of the day.
What the current champion Max had to say
Max Verstappen heaped praise on the Spaniard and Aston Martin and claims that it is a positive for the 2023 season. Max said “So I guess it can only get better for them[Aston Martin]. And I think for this year, difficult to say if they’re going to challenge for the championship, but race wins are definitely on the table.” He spoke about the years when his Red Bull was behind the leaders on pace yet he came out with 2-3 wins each season.
F1 returns this week to Saudi Arabia with the race on Sunday 12th March. Do you think Alonso and Aston Martin can fight for the championship or at least race wins? Comment below.