P2 In Monaco, But Fernando Alonso Remains Second To None

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin F1 Team, 2nd Position, Celebrates With His Trophy
Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin F1 Team, 2nd Position, Celebrates With His Trophy

Perhaps it could be argued that just as important as the eventual race result of the 2023 Monaco Grand Prix was the most dominant battle out in the front; the one between the nearly faultless Red Bull of Max Verstappen and the Aston Martin of Fernando Alonso, the car in pursuit. 

The two cars raced on until the very end, undeterred and perhaps even unbothered by the changing vagaries of a tiring Grand Prix that was, perhaps as expected, infested by the rain only to become slightly more dramatic than it had been all along! 

And while he did confess upon the completion of Saturday’s closely fought qualifying battle at Monaco that catching Verstappen would be ‘quite a task’ and the only real chance he’d have would be at the start (despite the short run down to turn 1), Fernando Alonso did actually gave it everything in a bid to catch the literally untameable Max Verstappen. 

Lap after lap, corner upon corner, Alonso may have lagged ultimately in speed, though not in intensity in a battle that saw the most experienced driver of the current grid come alive with only a handful of laps to go. 

Maybe, not many would notice it but the fact that Alonso was actually taking two-tenths out of Verstappen for two consecutive laps, particularly towards the closing stages, did further highlight his keenness to get the better of Max, the race leader. 

Alas, from an Aston Martin point of view, the Red Bull didn’t put a foot wrong or yield.  

So it just about makes sense to dwell little or maybe not one bit on the eventual nearly 28-second gap that turned up on our screens as the two cars finally saw the checkered flag; Verstappen up ahead by a country mile on Alonso. 

Perhaps it makes sense to admire the grit and the tireless spirit of Fernando Alonso, a mighty competitor whose rule book just doesn’t seem to have the word slow or pause. 

The Formula 1 veteran seemed to be getting the most out of the inters that he had pitted for after a rather prolonged stay out on the track on worn slicks. 

And while the victory didn’t belong to the massively popular Spaniard, who’d snagged eighteen very useful points; it ought to be said that Alonso has no plans on stopping anytime soon given the regal touch he’s been in so far in 2023. 

Speaking after the race, Alonso said “I’m really happy with this result. The race was not easy – and the rain made it difficult for everybody, and very risky strategically. I don’t think the extra stop [first Mediums, then Intermediates] affected the result.”

“It’s always hard to read the race fully from the cockpit, but on the lap I stopped, the track was completely dry apart from Turns Seven and Eight – so why fit Inters, especially when it felt like a small shower and we had plenty of margin behind us? So it was the right decision, and extra safe: but a minute and a half later it was a completely different situation!”

“There was no chance to win today – wet or dry, but we raced aggressively and tried to win it. We were hoping Max would suffer greater degradation on the Mediums, but he did 50 laps at an amazing pace. But we’re getting closer – let’s not forget that. Now to Spain!”

It ought to be noted that Fernando Alonso wasn’t actually frail or anything of that sort especially early on in the contest; by the time the tenth lap had been completed, he was trailing Verstappen by only three seconds and still in hot pursuit. 

What another podium finish for Fernando does, this being his 103rd overall, is put further pressure on Sergio Perez, who really lost out due to that qualifying mistake during Q1 on Saturday. 

And lest it is forgotten, it also tells both Ferraris, especially Leclerc, that they still have a massive task at hand in a bid to even come close to matching the fast-paced F1 double world champion. 

With Spain up next, the Samurai’s and happy popular hunting ground, perhaps what would really leave the entirety of the grid stunned and enthralled in equal measure would be seeing the man from Asturias on the top step of the podium. 

So can Alonso finally scale the long-awaited summit that he’s longed for all this time? Well, for starters, his faultless approach, fiery resolve, and machinery to match all offer a lot of confidence. 

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