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No podium at Azerbaijan Grand Prix but Alonso is upbeat heading to Miami

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The Spanish veteran Fernando Alonso’s decision to quit Alpine and join Aston Martin has proved an inspired choice.

Spanish Formula One driver Fernando Alonso of Aston Martin  talks during the presentation of Formula One's drivers at the grid prior the 2023 Formula One Grand Prix
Spanish Formula One driver Fernando Alonso of Aston Martin talks during the presentation of Formula One’s drivers at the grid prior the 2023 Formula One Grand Prix of Azerbaijan at the Baku City circuit, Azerbaijan, 30 April 2023. Picture: Ali Haider, EPA

Baku – Fernando Alonso was far from downhearted after missing out on his fourth consecutive podium of the season at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku on Sunday.

The Spanish veteran’s decision to quit Alpine and join Aston Martin has proved an inspired choice.

Alonso made the podiums for his rejuvenated new team in the season-opener in Bahrain, followed by Saudi Arabia and Melbourne – the first time he had strung together three top three finishes since the 2013 season.

Finishing fourth on Sunday – behind Sergio Perez, Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc – ended the sequence, but he was packing a lot of positives into his luggage as he headed off to Florida for next weekend’s Miami Grand Prix.

“I’m quite happy. We had pace in (Saturday’s) sprint, and showed we were even stronger today. It was a tricky weekend for Aston,” said Alonso, alluding to his team’s issues with its DRS (drag reduction system) and set up.

“We were not that fast, and still only one second away from the podium.

“Ferrari had a perfect weekend: two pole positions, super fast car. They were just one second from the Astons. We have to be happy overall.”

Alonso’s teammate, Lance Stroll, son of team owner Lawrence Stroll, came in seventh.

Alonso sits third in the drivers championship with 60 points, 33 behind leader and world champion Verstappen, with Stroll in eighth place on 27 points.

Looking ahead to Miami next Sunday Alonso anticipated a tight tussle between Aston Martin and their two main rivals for any crumbs falling off Red Ball’s overladen plate.

“Miami is a more standard format (to Baku). It’s a different thing again. Ferrari, Mercedes and Aston are so close together so every weekend will be  a little bit different, with always one of us a little bit ahead.”

AFP

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