One of the finest moments last year in 2022 for the most experienced man on the F1 grid, i.e., Fernando Alonso came at the Canadian Grand Prix. For it was at the Montreal-bound Canadian Grand Prix, where Alonso had qualified ahead of a Ferrari and had, thus, bagged a front row start for his former Alpine team.
But that the Spaniard had bagged a front-row start during qualifying at Canada wasn’t the only high point. But then neither was the fact that the-then Alpine driver had beaten Carlos Sainz Jr. on sheer qualifying pace on a breezy Saturday. The main reason down to which Alonso couldn’t keep off the smile from that handsome face of his was that he had out-qualified a Ferrari by over a second.
Truth be told, in just a few days from now, as Fernando Alonso will head to Canada one more time, he’d be reminded not only of his last year’s feat but of the very distinct factor that he’d quite like to have on his side in order to tackle the rest of the qualifying grid: sheer pace.
What didn’t quite work out for Fernando Alonso at Spain?
Unfortunately, this last weekend at Spain, his home turf, it would turn out to be the very factor that had evaded the grand champion of the sport though not to anyone else’s fault.
During the Q1 of the 2023 Spanish Grand Prix, Fernando Alonso would slide over the gravel trap area of a tight corner and would, thus sustain considerable scruffiness under the floor of his current Aston Martin machinery. And though, it was down to sheer effort (and blazing job) of his team that the man from Asturias was able to carry on and even compete in the main race with the repair work done within sufficient time, the speed that the double world champion needed to compete for the top honours at his home track venue was nowhere to be found.
Resultantly, Fernando Alonso was only able to collect a seventh in the end at Catalonia, which meant that he was following Stroll, his teammate at the end.
This was, rather interestingly, the only time this season in 2023 that Fernando Alonso would end up behind his less experienced Canadian teammate.
Could Alonso, therefore, have been any happy? What was his main concern and more importantly, what did he have to say at the completion of the thirty-third edition of the Spanish Grand Prix?
Alonso, reflecting clearly on what dethroned his Aston Martin from the possibility of bagging a significant result, iterated the key factor of the powerful force behind the Red Bull: Mercedes.
He would, therefore, compliment them and, at the same time, reflect on their big strength, which in turn, also marked his own team’s weakness:
“They are fast, they are concern for us. They have been all year long. They have very consistent drivers as well.”
That said, he would also reflect on the performance of the Ferrari machinery as seen so far in 2023 and would add, “Ferrari has a very fast car, but they seem to score only with one car or have more trouble in the race – but Mercedes is always there, so they are a very tough competitor.”
We didn’t have the pace,” Alonso said. “I think we were not fast enough with the soft, not quick enough on the on the hards at the end, so I don’t think it was a thing on the strategy or anything, it was just a lack of pace today. Let’s see why and try to get better for Canada.”
All of that said, the big question for now is- will Alonso be able to return back to the podium places, which up until now (prior to Spain) had been his second nature? Or will one witness, some loss of form?