Fernando Alonso praises Aston Martin development after ‘stressful’ Dutch GP qualifying

Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso will start the 2023 Dutch GP in fifth place

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Fernando Alonso has praised Aston Martin’s upgrades at the Dutch Grand Prix, after the Spanish driver qualified in fifth.

Aston Martin’s updates at the Canadian GP in June appeared to take the team back a step or two, after they had the second fastest car for much of the first half of the season.

But at Zandvoort, the British outfit brought a new upgrade package that aimed to correct the unsuccessful development from Canada, and they appear to have been rewarded as Alonso went fifth fastest.

“In the last two events, we were eight and ninth,” Alonso said to select members of the media, including Total-Motorsport.com. “So definitely a step forwards, but yeah it was very stressful.

“Yesterday [Friday] we were lucky with dry practice so we did all of our tests. Feeling-wise, the car felt better but also the data confirmed that the new upgrade was working as expected in the wind tunnel.

“So definitely a step forward. I think the fifth today is also thanks to the extra performance that we had in the car. So thanks to everyone in the factory, I know they’ve been working flat-out in July.

“Because in August, with the factory being closed, we could not make any steps. So everything was made in July and it was a very intense month for everyone.”

Alonso backs intermediate tyre start

Owing to the wet conditions and the slightly embarrassing first-lap pit chaos at the Belgian GP weekend, race director Neils Wittich is said to be considering making the intermediate tyre mandatory at the start of the race on Sunday.

This is to avoid everyone pitting at the end of the first lap as notably happened at the 2021 Hungarian GP and 2023 Belgian Sprint Race, and Alonso backs the decision.

“It’s a very short track with no visibility,” Alonso added. “So even for tomorrow, I hope for a dry race just because of the visibility.”

Regarding the decision to start the race on intermediate tyres, Alonso said: “I support it for sure.”

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