Fernando Alonso has lofty ambitions for Aston Martin this season as he wants to be starting ahead of both Lewis Hamilton and Carlos Sainz on the grid after taking his second podium since 2014 at the Bahrain Grand Prix. Aston Martin have come into the 2023 season as the surprise package after impressing in pre-season testing.
Both Alonso and Lance Stroll were delighted with the car coming into the season-opening race and that showed in free practice. Stroll’s efforts were impacted by a wrist injury he suffered last month, but Alonso was sending shockwaves up and down the paddock with his pace.
There was a small patter of frustrations on Saturday with Alonso unable to qualify higher than fifth and his race was somewhat compromised on the first lap on Sunday after being tapped by his team-mate Stroll through the first few corners. It put Alonso behind both George Russell and Hamilton, meaning he had to come through the field throughout the race.
After the final set of pit stops, Alonso was able to chase down Hamilton in arguably the best on-track battle of the entire race. The two exchanged places before Alonso eventually made his move stick and a potential podium then suddenly opened up for the Spaniard when Charles Leclerc retired from the race with just 16 laps remaining.
Alonso still had to get past Sainz, who was struggling on his hard tyres, and made his move up to third just a few laps later. The Red Bulls were out of sight at that point, but Alonso was able to maintain his position for a historic result for Aston Martin.
Nico Rosberg asked Alonso how it felt to pass both Hamilton and Sainz before taking third, with the Aston Martin driver admitting his preference would be to start ahead of both drivers on a regular basis. “I would love to start in front of them and then use the pace but we had not the best start today and we had to pass on track,” Alonso said.
“It felt like there was more exciting and more adrenaline for sure. We did enjoy it as well.”
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