Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso admits if it is a “normal Monaco race” he has little chance of ending his winless drought that stretches back to 2012, but remains keenly aware that anything can happen on the iconic Monte Carlo street circuit.
The Spaniard has enjoyed a career renaissance since making a surprise switch to Aston Martin, with the British team emerging as the second-quickest outfit of 2023 behind Red Bull.
And hopes of a first pole and win in more than a decade were raised when he provisionally held top spot during a thrilling qualifying session, only for Max Verstappen to deny him with his last flying run.
Given the importance of starting first and the superiority of the RB19, Alonso concedes he’ll be relying on the racing gods to look upon him favourably if he is to take the chequered flag.
“I think I risk enough today,” Alonso said, when asked if he would be willing to push the boundaries for a long-overdue 34th career win.
“So tomorrow, as I said, we will try to finish the race to see the chequered flag try to take the maximum points.
“If there is a normal Monaco race, we should be in the podium, more or less secure in the positions that we see here in this moment.
“And as I said, if there is an opportunity or you know, mechanical failure from Max or a bad pit stop or lucky strategy or whatever, you know, we will take it, but if not, there is not that [risk] coming from our side.
“There is no way you will overtake anyone so it’s just avoiding that mistake, which it sounds a boring race on Sundays in Monaco and from the outside looks easy, but it is still extremely difficult, you know, to keep the car in good shape and on those streets for 70 laps.”
‘I always had the confidence’
Alonso is the oldest driver on the grid and has endured years of misery in midfield cars since leaving Ferrari for McLaren ahead of the 2015 season.
But despite making a series of ill-fated career moves, the two-time world champion added that his self belief never wavered and that he is enjoying showcasing his skills to the new generation of F1 fans.
“It feels great,” Alonso added. “I mean, I always had self confidence in what I could do in terms of driving, overconfidence sometimes but that’s part of my DNA probably but it is a proof maybe for for people outside.
“There were a lot of new fans maybe who come in as well from 2014 or ’15 or Drive to Survive and they only saw me fighting for Q3 or retiring in the race with some smoke at the back.
“So now I think they are surprised that they they see me fighting a little bit towards the front.
“It is OK and I’m enjoying, but it is more enjoyable that people can all new fans can see that we are fast.”