Fernando Alonso believes his fourth place in qualifying for the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix was his best performance of the 2023 season so far.
The Aston Martin driver started second in Saudi Arabia after Max Verstappen’s woes, but he is choosing to see the gap to pole rather than the position he starts from.
With each qualifying session, Alonso has got fractionally closer to the front of the field, and he wants to keep that momentum going.
“I feel good,” Alonso told the media after qualifying. “It was very tight, within one or two-tenths over a lot of cars and we were on the upper end of that.
“In Q3, we missed the first row of the grid by a couple of hundredths, but the Mercedes did a very good job.
“I think this was still the best qualifying out of the three for us so far, 0.6s (behind pole) in Bahrain, 0.5s in Jeddah and 0.4s here, so I think we have to be happy.”
Strong race pace
While qualifying may only have Alonso in fourth, behind the Mercedes duo of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton with Verstappen on pole, the real strength of the Aston Martin has come in the race.
The Spaniard charged through to third in Bahrain with some exceptional overtakes, and he believes he can find a way past both of the Silver Arrows on race day in Melbourne.
“I feel confident, I feel positive about tomorrow,” Alonso continued. “Our strength, I think, is still the long run pace.
“So we start in the first two rows of the grid and our strength is on Sundays so let’s use it.”
Behind Alonso, Lance Stroll starts sixth in between the two Ferrari’s who also believe they have a better race car than qualifying car under their belts.