Fernando Alonso admitted Aston Martin simply didn’t have the pace to do any better than sixth and seventh at the 2023 Spanish Grand Prix.
The British team have been Red Bull’s closest challengers this season but lost second place in the constructors’ championship to a resurgent Mercedes at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Alonso lined up eighth after making a mistake that cost him performance in qualifying, but could only recover to seventh during the race, losing out to George Russell and Sergio Perez behind.
“Yeah, I think we didn’t have the pace,” Alonso told select members of the media, including Total-Motorsport.com. “So that was the biggest problem.
“It was not that we were unlucky or different strategies or anything like that. I think we were slow compared to the Mercedes, slow on the soft, slow on the hard and we just concentrated on the Alpines, AlphaTauris and yeah, keep up the pace with the Ferraris.
“At the end I think we outscored the Ferraris this weekend, because they only scored with Carlos [Sainz].
“And we lost points with the Mercedes, but they have done a better job this weekend.”
In the closing stages, Alonso looked like he had a chance to keep up his 100 per cent record of beating his teammate Lance Stroll, but unusually told the team he wouldn’t be challenging the Canadian for sixth.
Alonso added: “Yeah, I mean it was 10 laps to the end I was with a little bit fresher tyres but like one or two tenths faster than him, no more than that and I will you know not get crazy.
“I damage one floor yesterday I didn’t want to damage another one today or he damaged the floor or anything. Just tried to secure the place.
“For us is the same, sixth and seventh and seventh and sixth so let’s go in Canada.”
Big qualifying regrets
Coming into the 2023 Spanish GP weekend, there was plenty of hope for a duel between Alonso and Verstappen, arguably the two standout performers of the season to date.
However, in damp conditions at the start of qualifying, the veteran Spaniard made a rare mistake, running wide and sustaining damage to his floor that left him at a serious disadvantage.
Ninth was the best he could go, which became eight when Pierre Gasly‘s penalty was applied, leaving Alonso to wonder what could have been.
“I regret yesterday my mistake, you know I thought all night if I could rewind and go again in qualifying things will be different,” he said.
“That I cannot do yet you know, change time, so I can only think now in Canada and I will use that motivation for a good weekend in Canada.”
No issue with Ocon defence
Despite the overall disappointment, Alonso was able to pull off some good moves, the last of which was against his former teammate Esteban Ocon.
The pair had a frosty relationship at Alpine and the Frenchman appeared to deploy an overly aggressive defence of his seventh place, but Alonso saw it differently.
Asked is he felt it was over the limit, he said: “It was different on TV I don’t know. From my side there was [Guanyu] Zhou, [Yuki] Tsunoda and Esteban and for me they felt all the same.”
Where is the next F1 2023 race?
With the F1 circus finished in Spain, the next race is the 2023 Canadian Grand Prix which will be held at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal over the weekend of June 16-18.