Fernando Alonso sees Williams and Ferrari as favourites for a podium at the 2023 Italian Grand Prix podium after Red Bull, and predicted a tough battle for Aston Martin at Monza.
Alonso‘s podium at the Dutch GP was Aston Martin‘s first since mid-June, and the Spaniard even talked on the radio that the team could be close to a win.
However, they’ve tended to go better at high-downforce tracks in 2023, as Monaco was the closest Aston Martin have come to a win all season.
“I think two teams in our numbers will stand out here, one is Williams, they will be fast in the top speed that they show through the season.” Alonso told select members of the press, including Total-Motorsport.com. “And the other one would be Ferrari.”
“Like in Canada it’s long straights, short corners, chicanes and things like that they are super fast so those two teams will be, I think, the biggest challenge for us in terms of competitiveness. They could fight for the podium between between them.”
Charles Leclerc has picked up Ferrari’s three 2023 podiums at the Azerbaijan, Austrian and Belgian GPs, all power-sensitive tracks.
And Montreal is the only track so far where both Ferraris have finished in the top five, led by Leclerc. However, they were reasonably comfortably beaten by Alonso and Lewis Hamilton in Canada, so might not have things all their own way.
Alex Albon‘s seventh at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is Williams‘ joint second-best finish in F1 since 2017, and he’s also scored points at the 2023 Bahrain and British GPs – tracks where straight-line speed is of the essence.
But the team’s fantastic showing in Zandvoort, a much different circuit profile where both Williams reached Q3 and Albon went on to finish eighth despite losing out in the rain at the end, either indicates an overall improvement or a shift in their area of strength.
Alonso: Aston Martin still close to a win
After a bullish team radio following second at the 2023 Dutch GP, Alonso conceded Aston Martin still need either a performance boost or Red Bull bad luck to earn a grand prix victory.
Alonso last won a race in 2013, for Ferrari at the Spanish GP, and Red Bull‘s dominance ten years later doesn’t seem to be on the wane.
He was in with a shot at winning the 2023 Monaco GP but Aston Martin called him in for a pit stop just before rain arrived over Monte Carlo, sealing yet another victory for Max Verstappen.
“There are a couple of weekends where you seem a little bit closer and I felt that in Zandvoort or let’s say, the three second-places we were close to the wind,” Alonso added.
“Obviously, we are fighting against an outstanding Max and Red Bull, unbreakable, and yet we are getting close sometimes and we just need that extra step in terms of performance in terms of luck, in terms of a pit stop at the right time or whatever.
“Hopefully, we can be in that position to fight again and have a chance to be side by side, I guess with Max and at that point maybe take some extra risk.”