Thursday, May 23, 2024

Canadian Race ‘Like a Qualifying Session’ due to Hamilton Pressure – Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso felt the Canadian Grand Prix was the most competitive race of the 2023 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season for the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula 1 Team as he claimed second place at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

The Spaniard lost second place to Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team’s Lewis Hamilton early on in Canada but had the pace to catch and re-pass the British racer. However, his former team-mate did not give up behind him, forcing Alonso to race as each lap was a qualifying lap.

“It was a great result for Aston Martin today and another podium for the team,” said Alonso.  “I think it was our most competitive race yet and the upgrades on the car are working well.

“I lost the position to Lewis [Hamilton] at the start, but we had some good pace and after a close battle we retook second. It was then like a qualifying session as Lewis was pushing at the end and we had to keep him there and not make any mistakes.”

Alonso ended under ten seconds behind Oracle Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen in Canada, thanks to an upgraded aero package brought to the track by Aston Martin, and he hopes they can get even closer to the current championship leader next time out in Austria.

“We hope to put more pressure on Max [Verstappen] in Austria,” Alonso said.

“It was a good recovery drive to score a couple of points” – Lance Stroll

Team-mate Lance Stroll recovered from a grid penalty to claim ninth place on Sunday, with the Canadian taking the spot from Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake’s Valtteri Bottas on the run to the chequered flag.

Stroll could count himself a little bit unlucky to pit just before the safety car was deployed, meaning some of his rivals were able to lose less time when they made their own stop, but he never gave up and was in top ten contention throughout.

The Canadian says he enjoyed his last lap, last gasp pass on Bottas, and hearing the crowd cheering him over the line was a ‘great’ feeling.

“It was a good recovery drive to score a couple of points this afternoon,” said Stroll.  “We got unlucky with the Safety Car; pitting a lap before it was deployed meant we missed out on a cheaper stop while the cars around us were able to take that opportunity.

“At that point our focus had to shift to damage limitation and trying to pick up a couple of points for the team. There are still positives to take from the race; the AMR23 felt strong and was performing well.

“I had a fun final lap too, overtaking Valtteri [Bottas] just before the finish line. To hear the cheers from the grandstands when I took the position was great, and I want to say thank you to all the fans who have shown their support this weekend.”

Lance Stroll finished ninth in Canada – Credit: Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula 1 Team