Fernando Alonso said that his fifth-place qualifying finish in his debut race for Aston Martin was “too wonderful to be true,” ahead of both Mercedes vehicles.
The Spaniard, who competes for a team that placed eighth in the 2022 standings, will start the Bahrain Grand Prix behind only the Red Bulls and Ferraris.
lvaro Alonso “That was incredible. Every session was too fantastic to be true.
It seems a little bit surreal to be competing against Ferrari and Mercedes while in the top five.
In his first race for his new team at Sakhir, the 41-year-old was right up front from the get-go in what he termed as a “totally new car” for 2023.
He finished qualifying 0.628 seconds behind Max Verstappen’s Red Bull, 0.336 seconds behind Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari in third, and 0.004 seconds ahead of Mercedes driver George Russell in fifth.
Verstappen will start first in Bahrain for the new season.
Vowles predicts that Williams’ recuperation will take “years.”
How the Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying went
How to listen to BBC radio and online for the Bahrain Grand Prix
Alonso stated that he and the Aston Martin team believed that competing for a podium finish in the race on Sunday was achievable. Ferrari has been having issues with excessive tyre wear over longer periods.
Again, it seems so odd that we begin P5 and might be striving higher, he added.
“Since they had an advantage last year, we honestly believed that the top three clubs were unbeatable this year.
“But today, we start from position five, and we compete for the podium with Ferraris. Let’s keep running, keep our feet on the ground, run the race flawlessly, and then assess our position.”
Alonso also commended Lance Stroll, a teammate who qualified seventh despite suffering two broken wrists and a damaged toe in a cycling accident two weeks prior that prevented him from participating in preseason testing.
Wow, remarked Alonso. “I’m thanking him after every lap he completes because what he’s doing is difficult.
Because Lawrence Stroll, Lance’s father, owns the [team], his passion for the sport is often not really sold in this way, but this weekend he is demonstrating a lot of things to everyone, which shows how determined he is to earn a good outcome and successful career in F1.
Hamilton is delighted for Alonso.
Lewis Hamilton exits the Mercedes pit garage
Bahrain Grand Prix winner Hamilton has five victories.
After watching a man regarded as a great of the sport compete in subpar vehicles for ten years, Alonso’s return to a fighting position near the front was met with joy throughout the F1 paddock.
Russell, a teammate of Lewis Hamilton’s on the Mercedes team who finished in seventh place, said: “Sincerely, I’m delighted for Aston. Seeing their development and the actions they have done is fascinating.
“Fernando has been here a lot longer than I have, so I’m extremely delighted to see him back in the mix. We’re hoping for some exciting races.”
Hamilton acknowledged that his team’s inability to make the gains they had anticipated for this season was highlighted by Aston Martin’s advancement.
Mercedes provides the gearbox, engine, and rear suspension for Aston Martin. They use the wind tunnel at Mercedes to create their own aerodynamics.
They have the most of the rear end of our car, according to Hamilton, who added that they also have half of our car. Hence, it’s undoubtedly not good for us.
Toto Wolff, the team manager for Mercedes, added: “Whatever lies between us and the pole is less important now that Fernando is there, and we can only salute what they accomplished.
“They improved their car’s performance by two seconds in just six months while employing the same wind tunnel and using an engine, transmission, and rear suspension as ours. All we have to say is that they did a fantastic job.”
Meet the drivers and teams for the 2023 qualifying rounds.
Mercedes needs to redesign their vehicle.
The seven-time champion is concerned that Wolff and Hamilton’s admission that the Mercedes vehicle lacked aerodynamic performance could hinder his chances of going up in the race due to the potential for excessive tyre wear.
Hamilton added, “We are lacking overall downforce, especially at the back. “We struggle with [tyre] deg. because we can’t turn on the power as quickly as the Red Bulls and Ferraris on a single lap. So it’s the same tale you heard the year before. Prior to last year, our rear end grip was better.”
Mercedes has continued to use its one-of-a-kind “zero-sidepod” design concept this season, and Wolff said he thought they would need to switch things up if they were to contend for triumphs.
Wolff declared, “I don’t think this package is ever going to be competitive. “We gave it our best shot, but now it’s time to refocus, get down with the engineers, and be completely non-dogmatic – there are no holy cows – as we choose the development path we want to take to be competitive and win races.
“We achieved our development goals, and that made it clear to us that it was insufficient. We lack sufficient downforce. We must come up with fixes for that.
“That was incorrect last year. We tried to remedy it by clinging to the idea of the car, but it didn’t work. We simply need to shift our attention to what we think may be the best course of action.
There are still three years of these [technical] requirements, so we need to address the physics that we got incorrect.