Alonso ‘not thinking’ of F1 pole in Bahrain despite Friday’s best times

Fernando Alonso insists he is not thinking about pole position for the Bahrain Grand Prix despite exceeding practice times for his new Formula 1 team Aston Martin on Friday.

Alonso looked quick throughout the opening day of the 2023 season and took first place in the late afternoon FP2 session after going 0.169 seconds faster than Max Verstappen’s Red Bull.

His teammate Lance Stroll was sixth fastest, although the Canadian missed last week’s practice with a wrist injury.

After a strong showing from Alonso in testing, rival teams felt Aston would be in the mix with Ferrari and Mercedes, but the car was not expected to overtake Red Bull.

Asked if he would now be disappointed if he didn’t get pole on Saturday, Alonso was keen to keep expectations in check.

“Oh, no, not at all,” said the Spaniard, whose last pole position was at the 2012 German Grand Prix.

“I don’t think so high, to be honest. In fact, I don’t know exactly which position will be good for us.

“After practice we thought we were in Q3 with both cars and scoring as many points as possible in those first two races, try not to make any mistakes.

“It’s very easy to make a mistake, it’s not the same to fight for P12, P14 as to fight for the top five, because the pressure is different, the adrenaline is different. So there are a lot of things that we as a team need to grow together, in this process.

“I expect that we will unfortunately make mistakes, maybe I make mistakes, it’s a whole new team, new procedures, the team too. So we have to have our feet on the ground.

“The objective must be to fight for the championship, but in the long term, I don’t think this year yet.”

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR23

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Alonso praised the AMR23 but was keen to stress there was more to come in terms of improvements to the car and the way the team operates as he continues to adapt to Silverstone outfit.

“Obviously it’s good to see the times, that you’re competitive,” he said.

“After practice there are always mixed feelings where you are, and again as we go into qualifying and the race. And maybe the first three races are very different circuits, Bahrain, Jeddah and Australia.

“At the moment we are only focusing on ourselves. There are still a lot of things to improve in the car, the balance was not quite perfect today.

“And I also think the team needs to change some things, we are trying to strengthen all areas of the team.”

Read also :

Alonso also praised the team’s efforts in recent months to move forward. Aston finished seventh in the Constructors’ Championship last season, beaten to sixth on the countdown by Alfa Romeo.

“Obviously it feels good to drive, I’ll be lying if I say it doesn’t feel good,” he said.

“But it’s all relative to what the other teams are doing. And you can feel really good in a car, and maybe there are three or four cars faster than you, and then it doesn’t feel so good anymore. GOOD.”

“So let’s see where we are. I think we have to be proud, the step we’ve taken, it’s been very intense work, two or three months in the factory.

“We spend endless hours in the simulator, in meetings, and trying to anticipate any issues that we might face in these first two races.

“And like I said, the knowledge of this team, the talent of this team, is probably unparalleled. The group of people we have. So that’s something very encouraging going forward.”

Leave a Comment