Sunday, July 21, 2024

Fernando Alonso Aiming to ‘Put Pressure’ on Max Verstappen

Fernando Alonso believes he can “put pressure” on Canadian Grand Prix pole sitter Max Verstappen on Sunday, with the Spaniard having claimed a second front row start from the last three races.

The Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team driver will start from second on Sunday at the Circuit de Gilles-Villeneuve, following a grid penalty for Nico Hulkenberg. Alonso had qualified in third behind Hulkenberg; however, the German was slapped with a three-place grid penalty for speeding under red flag conditions in the final part of qualifying.

The Spaniard will certainly take being promoted to the front row with open arms, given that he gives him a clear run down to the opening corner. He used all of experience to master the changing track conditions, putting him in an excellent place to claim a sixth podium of the season.

Speaking prior to Hulkenberg’s penalty being announced, Alonso admitted that he has “an opportunity” to claim a good result on Sunday and potentially challenge Verstappen for victory.

“We will take third place on the grid after a very complex Qualifying session. We were a little bit unlucky with the red flags during Q1 and Q3 just before we could complete a faster lap that  might have put us on the front row. There is an opportunity tomorrow and hopefully we can recover second place early in the race and put pressure on Max [Verstappen] in front.

“It’s always a challenging circuit with very low grip in the dry and wet conditions and the weather is always unpredictable. The new AMR23 upgrades seem to be working well and delivering what we were expecting, but we will keep evaluating them and try to optimise our setup around this new package.”

“There should be some opportunities to progress” – Lance Stroll

For home driver Lance Stroll it was a disappointing Saturday afternoon, with the Canadian to start his home Grand Prix from sixteenth.

Stroll had qualified thirteenth in the challenging conditions but was awarded a three-place grid penalty, after being judged to have impeded Esteban Ocon in the second part of qualifying. He was once again unable to match Alonso’s pace and was comfortably slower than the two-time World Champion.

The Canadian is normally very strong in mixed conditions; however, he failed to switch onto the right tyres at the correct time. He admitted that his side didn’t time their tyre change “quite right”, although, Stroll does believe that he has “some opportunities to progress” through the field on Sunday.

“It was a tough Qualifying session for us today. The challenging weather conditions meant that being on the right tyre at the right time was really important, and we didn’t quite get that right. The pace of the Aston Martin has looked good across the weekend though – I’ve been happy with how it’s felt and how the upgrades are performing.

“There should be some opportunities to progress tomorrow with several cars starting out of position, so I’m looking forward to my home race and putting on a good show for the fans.”

Credit: Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team