Fernando Alonso has said he is remaining calm about Aston Martin’s prospects in the 2023 F1 season, despite securing his first podium finish with the team at the Bahrain GP.
Alonso had shown real pace throughout testing and the early stages of the race weekend in Sakhir, and despite falling back at the start of the race following a shunt by teammate Lance Stroll, he rallied to finish third after overtaking Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari.
Aston Martin now look to have the third-fastest car on the grid behind the dominant Red Bull and Ferrari, with the team surpassing Mercedes, the manufacturer that supplies their engine, in the off season.
But despite the hype building around the potential of the team this season, Alonso said it remained to be seen how the car performs at other tracks with distinct characteristics to Bahrain, which has been the scene of the opening race and testing.
“Let’s see. I think I have the same feeling from testing, like, too good to be true. And you’re always expecting that something will get you will get a step back, and you will get back to reality,” he told media after the Bahrain GP.
“But it seems the performance is there, and let’s see. I’m curious to go to Japan, Australia, very different circuits…high-speed corners, very little degradation.
“I think in Bahrain, we were strong in things that maybe we don’t find in Jeddah, and Australia. So if we are strong in the next two races, I think we will have a very good 2023.”
Alonso secured Aston Martin’s second-ever podium in F1 after a stirring performance in Sakhir where he made swift work of the Mercedes pair of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, before dispatching of the Ferrari of Sainz.
From there, the Spaniard pulled out a comfortable gap to come over the line in third, while his teammate Stroll managed to finish in sixth despite undergoing surgery on his wrists after a biking accident ahead of testing.
The two drivers came together in the first lap as Stroll battled with Russell’s Mercedes off the line, with the Canadian shunting Alonso as he went deep into Turn 1.
While the incident dropped Alonso back to seventh from fifth on the grid, it caused no lasting damage, and he was still able to take a podium following a retirement for Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc due to engine issues.
“I thought it was George, but I saw the replay on TV later, and it was Lance,” Alonso said.
“He had a very good start, because he was alongside. We got lucky, obviously two cars, they didn’t have any problem. And we could continue.
“It was our lucky day for many things, for this contact and also to have both cars with strong points. So I’m very happy for the team because they deserve it.”