Fernando Alonso looks to have been reborn since joining Formula One’s Aston Martin. Gone is the surly Spaniard who was never happy and version 2.0 of Fernando has revealed a man with a sunny disposition and who is quick witted and amusing without trying too hard.
Yet at the Singapore Grand Prix there were signs Alonso was feeling his old angst as he complained over the radio that his car was “undriveable.”
Aston first time no points
Singapore has a habit of breaking good runs for both drivers and teams as Red Bull discovered when their winning streak of 15 consecutive races came to an abrupt end.
This happened to Mercedes too in 2015 when Singapore became only the second weekend of the entire year where the silver arrows were off the pace and failed to make a podium with either Rosberg or Hamilton.
For Aston Martin the 2023 Singapore Grand Prix was a weekend forget. Lance Stroll crashed heavily in qualifying and although certified fit to race by the medical specialists he was too sore and the team decided to withdraw his entry.
Fernando failed to finish in the points for the first time this season and with their P2 fromNorris and P7 with Piastri, McLaren have closed the gap to just 78 behind Aston with 7 races remaining.
Stroll “huge disappointment”
Having been a solid second to Red Bull at the start of the season with Fernando Alonso scoring 5 podiums in the first six races, Aston Martin have fallen behind both Mercedes and Ferrari and will be under pressure as the season draws to an end from the McLaren team.
Lance Stroll has been a huge disappointment for the Silverstone team this year and had he scored a similar percentage of points as either Russell or Leclerc, Aston Martin would be challenging for second in the constructors standings.
Team boss Mike Krack has constantly played down the gulf between his two drivers most recently claiming “there is not a marked gap in performance, there is a marked gap in points,” he said at Monza. “And it’s important to separate between the two.”
Of course Lawrence Stroll is known for his temper and being hasty in some of his actions, so we can’t blame Krack for blowing smoke up the rear end of the bosses son.
Rumour Stroll to miss Japanese GP
Yet the reality is Lance Stroll is not fit to lace the racing boots of Alonso. He’s finished ahead of the Spaniard just once this season and even then Fernando clearly had the pace to overtake Lance but chose not to.
When both cars finish, Stroll is an average of 4.5 places behind Alonso and Fernando scores an average of 9 points per weekend more than his Canadian team mate.
With less than a week between Stroll’s big crash and him needing to start Friday practice in Japan, rumours emerged today that the son of there Canadian billionaire would not be driving the British Racing Green car at Suzuka this weekend.
However, Lance and the team moved quickly to quash the notion that anyone would be replacing Stroll for the weekend in Japan even though the seeing like of Felipe Drugovitch alongside Fernando may reveal the true potential of the number two seat at Aston Martin.
Team representative Pedro de la Rosa sought to clear the air following Fernando’s outburst in Singapore.
“We were expecting to be more competitive but then again we lacked a bit of pace especially,” he told the F1 Nation podcast. “It was an unfortunate weekend for so many reasons. I don’t want to look for excuses.
“We’ve had a terrible shunt, Lance [Stroll] is recovering, but it was difficult for the team as well. Then on the race itself, there was one thing after the other that conspired against us – getting in a fight with Checo [Sergio Perez], overheating the tyres, then we had the penalty, we had a bad pit stop.
“I don’t think we were that far off. We would have finished higher in the points had everything gone as planned. But you know, this is motor racing and you have to have perfect weekends if you want to finish in the top six.”
Alonso praises Verstappen’s record
Despite being a disappointing weekend, Fernando Alonso gave his opinion on the standard of driving Max Verstappen has been delivering, which Lewis Hamilton recently criticised.
“It is underestimated sometimes what Max is achieving,” Alonso said. “To win in such a dominant manner in any professional sport, it is so complicated. Obviously, drivers in general, we have a lot of self-confidence, so I do believe I can do good as well.
“But you need to enter in a mood, in a state, where you are connected with a car. Days like [the Dutch GP], I felt that I was at my best and gave 100 percent of what I felt, and my abilities, in a racing car, but maybe in Spa (Belgian GP) I was not at that level, or in Austria, or something like that.
“So you always feel there is room to improve, and you are not 100 per cent happy with yourself. I think Max is achieving that 100 percent more often than any of the drivers, so that’s why he’s dominating.”
Hamilton had claimed Verstappen’s historic 10 race consecutive winning streak was because his Red Bull team mate Sergio Perez was inferior to those Lewis had faced during his career at both McLaren and Mercedes.
Vettel 🆚 Alonso
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