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Fernando Alonso reveals Aston Martin’s true pace compared to F1 rivals after Chinese GP qualifying

Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso qualified third for the 2024 Chinese GP behind only the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez


Fernando Alonso believes Aston Martin are slower than Ferrari, McLaren and potentially even Mercedes despite outqualifying all of them to start the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix in third, behind just the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.

Alonso almost aborted his flying lap after making a mistake in the first sector but full commitment on the next two corners meant he pulled that time back, and looked set to start on the front row until Perez denied him at the death.

It was a morale-boosting result for Aston Martin who have recorded three top-six finishes in 2024 but haven’t been able to recapture their trophy-laden start to the season 12 months ago, and Alonso even hinted he might’ve been able to jump Perez without that early mistake.

“We never give up, we are not in a strong position yet, especially on race conditions we’re still maybe the fourth or fifth fastest team,” Alonso told members of the media including Total-Motorsport.com. “But we still fighting to be better and better and today’s results shows that.

“It’s like two-tenths between Checo and myself, that’s more or less what I lost so we’ll be close with Checo but it doesn’t change too much to be P2 or P3.

“We are completely out of position for tomorrow with whatever position we are, I think seventh, eighth, ninth is our natural order tomorrow when we see the chequered flag, but we’re qualifying extremely well this year and we take it.”

Alonso predicts bump back to earth in Chinese GP

Fernando Alonso during 2024 Chinese Grand Prix | Aston Martin
Fernando Alonso during the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix | Aston Martin

However, Alonso predicted it’d be difficult to hold onto a podium position in the Chinese GP with so many faster cars behind. He starts ahead of the two McLarens, led by Lando Norris, then Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz directly behind them, and failed to finish the sprint race ahead of qualifying.

However, with Aston Martin nine points behind Mercedes there is a chance they can overhaul the Silver Arrows by the end of the weekend with George Russell starting eighth, Lance Stroll 11th and Lewis Hamilton all the way down in 18th.

“I suspect a difficult race, we’re slower than the Ferraris, slower than the McLarens and probably the Mercedes,” Alonso added. “We’re outqualifying them often and then in the race, we just need to wait and see when they come, how fast they come and how many laps we can defend those positions.

“It happened so far in the first four races so I guess this fifth race is going to be no different so I expect a race that is going to be difficult for us but you know, we can’t say sorry to be too fast in qualifying.

“There are like six cars and we’re leading that group of those two tenths so we’re happy with the lap, happy with qualifying and these kind of laps and moments are very encouraging for the future. I’m happy for the team, proud of all of them.”

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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