Alonso says Aston ‘living a dream,’ eyes podium
SAHIR, Bahrain – Eight months after Fernando Alonso made his bid to move to Aston Martin, he said he couldn’t believe he had a car to fight for a podium finish at the Bahrain Grand Prix – even though that Saturday’s qualifying didn’t quite fit in with the hype of the last 24 hours.
Aston Martin’s dazzling pre-season form had many predicting they could turn F1’s “Big Three” into the “Big Four” this year, but Alonso’s training pace kept fans dreaming that the two-time world champion had a car that could challenge Max Verstappen and Red Bull ahead.
The Spaniard downplayed those offers and Red Bull showed up on Saturday night. comfortable ahead of the pack.
Alonso qualified fifth, behind two Ferraris but ahead of two Mercedes drivers.
When asked if he could fight for the podium on Sunday, Alonso laughed and said: “We’ll see!
“I’m laughing because I’m about to get on the podium in the first race… It’s too good to be true.
“It’s so strange for me to say that we are fifth and maybe we are striving for more. To be honest, we thought the top three teams were untouchable this year with the advantage they had last year.
“Maybe try to lead the midfield or mix in the midfield … now we are saying we will start from fifth place and maybe compete with Ferrari for the podium. It’s just incredible. race at its best, no mistakes, good start, good pit stops, let’s see where we are.
“But yes, right now we are living the dream.”
Alonso’s decision to sign with Aston Martin for this season in mid-2022, leaving Alpine in fourth place for the seventh-placed team, came as a surprise at the time.
The Spaniard said the team knew this week they had something special, even if Red Bull always seemed out of reach.
“It was amazing. The whole weekend was unreal for us. It was too good to be true, every session and every performance of the machine. In qualifying, we expected about half a second from Red Bull … I think we are half a second behind Red Bull or sixth or tenth, so it was absolutely right.
“I don’t know what to say because eight months ago the project was just a bet, but now to be a race with a completely new car that I think still has a lot of potential to be in the top five. fighting Ferrari and Mercedes seems a bit unrealistic. But we will definitely take it.”
Despite the fact that he is considered by many to be one of the best drivers of our time, Alonso has not had a truly competitive car for a long time. His last pole position came at the 2012 Hungarian Grand Prix and his last victory at the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix.