Fernando Alonso is not convinced that Red Bull and Sergio Perez can be beaten in the 2023 Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
The Aston Martin driver, who claimed his 99th podium in the Bahrain GP, backed up his fine start to the season with another strong qualifying session but could not match the searing pace of Perez in his Red Bull.
The task could have been made harder had Max Verstappen not broken down in Q2 and failed to set a lap but Alonso still believes that winning the race is a long shot at best.
“I don’t think so,” Alonso said, when asked by the media if there is any chance of beating Perez in the race.
“I don’t want to sound pessimistic but if we see the pace all weekend and throughout free practice as well as the Bahrain pace, we have to be honest with ourselves and know that Red Bull is a little bit ahead of everyone.
“That [the race win] is not the target tomorrow, but as I said before, Formula 1 is not exact mathematics. Anything can happen and today it has put Verstappen P15.”
Alonso may expect Perez to drive away from him in the Saudi Arabian GP but he still thinks his team have to execute every single detail to get a good result.
Ferrari and Mercedes will be hot on his heels when the lights go out and he knows it will be tough to achieve another podium.
“I expect a very tight race and I think that will be defined by small details,” Alonso continued.
“One will be the start, one will be the tyre management and the other one will be the strategy.
“The final one will probably be the luck. We saw last year with Checo how luck and the safety car can play a big factor here so we have to nail all of these points.
“As a team, we are ready to take care of everything that is in our hands.”