Aston Martin facing ‘nice challenge’ in tight midfield – Alonso

Fernando Alonso expects Aston Martin to face a “nice challenge” in the Formula 1 midfield after a tight Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Alonso took fifth in Jeddah, ahead of both Mercedes drivers, Oliver Bearman and Lando Norris in the second Ferrari and McLaren, respectively for the team’s best result of the year so far, having qualified in fourth place.

Aston Martin has not started 2024 as strong as it did in ’23, with the AMR24 firmly now placed in the middle gaggle behind Red Bull and Ferrari, but Alonso was optimistic that upgrades being added to the machine would improve its fortunes.

He believes there is a deficit of about two-tenths to the cars around Aston Martin, but was encouraged at the ability to be able to keep George Russell behind throughout.

“I’m definitely happy with the race result, in front of both Mercedes, one McLaren and one Ferrari – it is the maximum we can wish for at the moment,” Alonso told media including RacingNews365.

“We saw in the race that we are still missing two or three-tenths compared to Mercedes and McLaren, maybe a little bit more compared to Red Bull and Ferrari in qualifying, but it is pretty close.

“We just need to keep working on the race pace. It was better as we did introduce new parts on [Thursday] and then worked really well, and we did make a step forward in terms of performance.

“When George [Russell] overtook Nico [Hulkenberg], they were coming so fast and I thought: ‘Okay this is going to be a difficult race’ but we could hold George behind us for the whole race.

“But we are still missing two or three-tenths and we will keep chasing that performance – it is challenging but it is a nice challenge and an interesting season ahead.”


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