Fernando Alonso was pleased to leave the Jeddah Corniche Circuit with a second consecutive podium finish – the one hundredth of his amazing career – on Sunday, even though he was made to wait for it by the stewards following a post-race penalty that ended up being overturned.
The Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula 1 Team driver took the lead at the start of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix from pole sitter Sergio Pérez but was deemed to be out of position on the grid, the stewards handing him a five-second penalty that he took during his pit stop.
However, a late investigation from the stewards saw him handed another penalty after the rear jack man appeared to touch the car before the end of his penalty, which relegated him to fourth behind Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team’s George Russell.
A right of review from Aston Martin, however, saw this penalty overturned, and Alonso was able to celebrate another top three finish in a car he feels can regularly compete at the front of the field.
“I am happy in the end with the result tonight and our second podium,” said Alonso. “We showed that we can be the second fastest team and we had good pace throughout the race.
“It was my mistake at the start with the position on the grid, but we pushed to make up that time. Coming into this weekend we were not sure exactly where we would be, so this is good news for us going into the next few races.
“I am looking forward to Australia next.”
“We leave Saudi Arabia knowing that we have a very competitive car” – Lance Stroll
Team-mate Lance Stroll was unfortunate to retire from the race with what looked like a power unit problem whilst running inside the points, but the Canadian remains positive about the potential of the AMR23 this year.
Stroll had been jumped by both Scuderia Ferrari’s during the pit stop cycle but was asked by his team to stop on track midway through the race, his retirement bringing out the safety car even though the car was all but off the circuit and in a safe place.
However, despite his failure to add to the sixth place he secured in Bahrain, Stroll leaves Saudi Arabia confident of strong races to come.
“It was disappointing to retire from the Grand Prix after such a promising weekend,” said Stroll. “I had a great start and really enjoyed overtaking Carlos [Sainz] around the outside of Turn 13.
“We were in a good position on track and I was having fun pushing, but then I started experiencing reduced power and got the call to stop the car.
“It is not the result we wanted, but we leave Saudi Arabia knowing that we have a very competitive car, and we will pick up the fight next time out in Australia.”