Formula 1

Fernando Alonso: “This weekend feels like a dream” after Bahrain Podium

3 Mins read
Credit: Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula 1 Team

The 2023 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season kicked off this weekend with the Bahrain Grand Prix with all ten teams heading into the unknown with newly developed cars and a potential change in the running order.

Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team’s rise in pace has been one of the biggest surprises of the season so far. The team swooped in for the services of veteran and two-time world champion Fernando Alonso to replace Sebastian Vettel after his retirement, and it seems as if Alonso made the right choice joining the Silverstone based team. The Spaniard showed good pace throughout testing and during the weekend, topping free practice two on Friday night, despite all that though, they could only qualify fifth in the all important qualifying session on Saturday at the Bahrain International Circuit.

Alonso had an action packed first race with his new team making a number of overtakes against the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Carlos Sainz Jr. Alonso had the pace on track to overtake one Scuderia Ferrari but he didn’t need to overtake the other, with Charles Leclerc suffering another engine problem costing him a podium, Alonso took the opportunity and became Aston Martin’s second podium sitter on their F1 tenure.

“This is an incredible result from the entire team and we must enjoy this moment. I am very proud of the job everybody has done. We did not have the best start, but the race pace was strong. The car has been very predictable from day one [of testing] and I have felt very comfortable throughout the whole weekend. I really enjoyed the race and, even after the chequered flag, I felt like I could have driven for another hour!

“We had some great fights out there today, especially with [Carlos] Sainz and [Lewis] Hamilton. Lewis is a legend of the sport and it was great to have so much respect between us out there. It was also an incredible effort from Lance, who was a hero today for driving so well so soon after his injury to pick up some great points. You can feel the energy in the team: everybody is working flat out at the moment and we are all very motivated.

“This weekend feels like a dream, but we must stay realistic because this is just one track and the first race. Jeddah is a very different kind of circuit; a very different challenge. I cannot wait to get back in the car.”

Lance Stroll – “This is an amazing result for the team and the best way to start the season.”

Alonso’s team-mate Lance Stroll also came across the finish line with a great result for the team, picking up a big points haul in sixth place ahead of the Mercedes of George Russell.

Stroll raced exceptionally considering the circumstances. The Canadian driver had been involved in a bad cycling accident causing injuries to his wrist and foot just two weeks before the race weekend but he managed to recover well enough to race in Bahrain but to finish in the top six was always going to be a challenge with the driver still in some pain with the injuries he suffered.

Stroll started eighth on the grid and managed to climb to sixth after the retirement of Leclerc and managing to undercut Russell, who was struggling for pace in the Mercedes, similarly to Hamilton.

“It was a fun race and I am super pleased to score good points tonight. It was not the most comfortable race for me, because of the injuries I have been dealing with, but to finish sixth has made it worth enduring all that pain.

“This is an amazing result for the team and the best way to start the season. Well done to everybody at Silverstone and here at the track. Fernando put in a great drive to take a podium first time out and has really shown the potential of this car.

“It feels great to be battling with Mercedes. Even with the adrenaline, the pain was the biggest limiting factor in the second half of the race. I must thank everyone who has helped me be in the best shape possible for today. I will now use the coming days ahead of Jeddah to work on recovery.”

Credit: Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula 1 Team
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