Fernando Alonso made an uncharacteristic error, and spun at the start of the 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix, but came back to finish ninth and salvage some points.
Alonso’s spin caused a first lap melee that involved several drivers, Valtteri Bottas, Sergio Perez, and Carlos Sainz, all losing out as a result.
The double Formula 1 Champion, who started the race from ninth, fell prey to cold tyres at the start, as the low temperatures of the Las Vegas night meant it was a challenge to get the tyres into their operating window.
After that, Alonso was playing catch up all night and managed to climb back up the order into ninth, a result he was happy about given the circumstances.
In Aston Martin’s post race media brief, Alonso said: “I am happy to come away from this race weekend with some points. Especially since I was facing the wrong way after the incident at Turn One at the race start.
“We made the most of the Safety Car and then gained some places back. Overall, I thought the racing was fun tonight and there were some great battles on track. There was quite a lot of graining and low levels of grip, but as a sport we will take a lot of learnings for racing in Las Vegas next year.
“We head to Abu Dhabi and will give it our all in the battle for fourth position in the Constructors’ Championship,” the Spaniard concluded.
In the other Aston Martin, Lance Stroll had another decent race, and despite being knocked out of qualifying in Q2 and dropping to 19th after a grid penalty, he drove a steady race benefitting from a lightning start on Soft tyres making up several positions and from there went on to finish fifth.
Stroll: That was a fun race!
The Canadian said: “That was a fun race! I gained 10 positions in the first corner with a lot of other drivers going wide, moving up from P19 to P9, so it immediately felt like it was all to play for.
“From that point, we were on the front foot and attacking throughout the race with a quick car. We made some good strategy calls, pitting under both Safety Cars, and then I was able to pass a few cars into Turn One to secure P5.
“It was a great track to race at and I’m pleased we were able to put on a good show for the fans,” Stroll concluded.
Mike Krack, Aston Martin’s Team Principal, summed up his team’s Las Vegas weekend both on and off the track, he said: “I think Las Vegas truly delivered on the hype with a very entertaining race this evening.
“Aston Martin certainly played its part in putting on a great show for the fans and both Lance and Fernando were in the thick of some great battles.
“We went into the race with a good understanding of the tyres and the strategy team made excellent calls today. Full credit to Lance to recover from the back of the grid to take two consecutive fifth places.
“He had a very strong race and made the most of an early switch to the Hard tyres to secure good track position. From there, he delivered one of his best races of the year with strong pace and important overtakes. Fernando recovered well from the opening lap incident to score a couple of important points too.
“I thought the circuit produced some really good racing today, alongside all the spectacle – so well done to everybody involved in delivering this Grand Prix,” Krack concluded.
Aston Martin head into the 2023 F1 season finale in Abu Dhabi in less than a week, fifth in the F1 Constructors’ Championship, and 11 points behind fourth-placed McLaren.
Big Question: Can Aston Martin beat McLaren to fourth in the 2023 Formula 1 Constructors’ Championship?