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Unexpectedly Competitive Says Alonso at Suzuka

“Unexpectedly Competitive,” Says Alonso at Suzuka

06/04/2024

Fernando Alonso’s stellar Suzuka qualifying showcases the AMR24’s potential, hinting at Aston Martin’s progress.

Fernando Alonso delivered another remarkable performance by qualifying fifth at Suzuka. Piloting the Aston Martin F1 with the AMR24’s upgrades from this morning, he expressed great satisfaction with the progress made.

“Yesterday, I had the old package, today the new. Tonight, we will have all the data to confirm and quantify the improvement, but everything went smoothly in qualifications,” Alonso stated. “Being this competitive is somewhat unexpected, to be honest.”

“We’re only a few hundredths from a Ferrari, with Leclerc behind us, Piastri behind us, as well as Mercedes. Six months ago, we were here, 1.5 seconds off pole position. And now, we’re within four-tenths.”

Alonso acknowledges that the race might prove more challenging, a pattern that has repeated this year: “Looking at the first three races, we are very strong on Saturdays but not as much on Sundays, and we might not be in a position to finish in the top five.”

“If I get overtaken by Oscar and the two Mercedes or something like that, I think we’ll fall back to our position. We’ll see what we can do. I’m very open to whatever the race brings us. I’m extremely proud and happy with today’s work, and tomorrow is another day.”

However, the closer gaps in qualifying lead him to believe that it does not dictate the pecking order: “We saw Nico [Hülkenberg], Valtteri [Bottas] today, they are within three-tenths or so, which is incredible. Then, in the race, you see the true face of the cars.”

“It’s something we struggle with a bit too; we’re very competitive on Saturdays, and not so much on Sundays. So, I think our real pace is on Sunday. On Saturday, thanks to tire grip, and everything that happens, we might be able to mask certain issues.

In the other Aston Martin, Lance Stroll qualified 16th after being eliminated in Q1. The Canadian driver is understandably frustrated with such a performance, but he is mostly concerned about not understanding the reasons behind it.

“I simply didn’t have the pace needed in qualifying today and we still don’t understand why. I think I pushed to the limit of what my car was capable of, but I didn’t have the speed to make it out of Q3,” Stroll said.

“The update package seems to work on Fernando’s AMR24, so we’ll take a look tonight to see if there was something else that could have impacted my car. There’s a lot of work to do before the Grand Prix, and we’ll need to make the most of any opportunities that come our way tomorrow.”

Unexpectedly Competitive Says Alonso at Suzuka

“Unexpectedly Competitive,” Says Alonso at Suzuka. “Unexpectedly Competitive,” Says Alonso at Suzuka

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