Alonso: Pace in Saudi Arabia better than Bahrain

Alonso: Pace in Saudi Arabia better than Bahrain

Alonso: Pace in Saudi Arabia better than Bahrain

Fernando Alonso left Jeddah content with the pace of his AMR24 after finishing fifth in the 2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, having started from fourth.

That was a different story to what the double Formula 1 Champion endured in the season opening race in Bahrain, where he qualified sixth but dropped to ninth by the end of the race.

In Jeddah, the AMR24 seemed handy on one lap pace, Alonso even topping the second free practice session, and flirting with the top of the timing screens at some points of qualifying, ending up fourth fastest in the end.

Quoted by Motorsport.com, Alonso said after qualifying: “We are surprised about the performance of this car over one lap. I think it’s not our natural position to be in the second row of the grid.

“We saw in Bahrain we were very strong in free practice and qualifying and then, in the race, we fell back to our more natural position – the fifth-fastest team behind McLaren, Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes. This was more or less the same story.

“We are ultra-competitive over one lap, and the car is responding well. But we are still very concerned about the race,” he admitted.

“It seems this year that we are struggling on the long runs, on the race pace,” Alonso continued. “So we made a few tweaks to the car on the set-up. And we will have the answer on Saturday night.”

Aston Martin’s changes to car setup worked

From what we have seen on Saturday night in Jeddah, whatever tweaks Aston Martin have done to the car setup seem to have worked, as Alonso finished fifth, behind McLaren’s Oscar Piastri in fourth, as Red Bull took another one-two with Charles Leclerc third.

“I feel great. The race was good,” Alonso said. “The pace was better than Bahrain. Still, I think we are faster on qualifying than the race but we could fight today with the McLarens and the Mercedes.

“I think the Red Bull and Ferrari are still one step ahead but I was comfortable with the car and happy with today’s [Saturday] race.

“It is a small step in the right direction,” the 42-year-old added, “but we still need to make another step especially on race pace.

“We took advantage also on the Safety Car, Hamilton and Norris could not stop at the same time as their team mates and we capitalized on that.

“Also Carlos [Sainz] with the injury, so P5, it tastes really good and we go on to Australia,” Alonso concluded.

With two races behind, Alonso currently sits seventh in the F1 Drivers’ Standings with 12 points.