Fernando Alonso has revealed he was lucky to avoid hitting Oscar Piastri on the opening lap of the 2023 Belgian Grand Prix, on his way to finishing fifth at Spa-Francorchamps.
The result is Alonso‘s best since the Austrian GP at the start of July, allowing him to retain his third place in the F1 driver standings, going into the summer break.
After enduring a difficult start to the weekend, that saw Alonso qualify in ninth and suffer a sprint race retirement, the 42-year-old repelled a challenge from George Russell to secure a top five finish on Sunday.
“I felt definitely more competitive than the last few events,” Alonso said to the media. “It was not an easy weekend to get into the rhythm, with wet qualifying and the track changing all of the time so there was not much experience in the dry.
“I was lucky at the start [to avoid Piastri] before Eau Rouge and I made a few places up there. I was a little worried we would fall back and that the pace was not good enough to keep that position but it was good today, the car felt good.
“We kept one Mercedes behind and one McLaren behind so we were in the mix and that’s good news before the summer break.”
Alonso praises Aston Martin’s problem-solving
Following their upgrades at the Canadian GP, Aston Martin suffered a loss of pace and appeared to fall behind the Mercedes, McLaren and Ferrari cars.
Even at tracks the AMR23 was tipped to be strong at they lagged behind their competitors, but it would seems the team are beginning to understand their car.
“The car felt fast today,” Alonso added to the media. “The guys did an incredible job again on the strategy, and the pit-stops we made a few places, and also yesterday even if we didn’t finish the race.
“I think today the car felt more normal. We had a few thoughts after Hungary and Silverstone so the team made a few set-up changes to the car and I think they paid off today. The car felt more normal and competitive and it was a big boost for the summer.”