RACE DEBRIEF

    Fernando Alonso was left wondering what could have been after his impressive recovery drive from a pit lane start at the United States Grand Prix was cut short by a mechanical issue.

    The weekend had proved challenging for Aston Martin ahead of Sunday’s race, with Alonso and team mate Lance Stroll being eliminated in Q1 of Friday’s qualifying. This marked the first time in 2023 that Alonso has failed to progress beyond the first segment of the hour.

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    With the team opting to change the set-ups of both cars ahead of the Grand Prix, Alonso and Stroll started from the pit lane but both moved forwards through the order as the race got under way. By Lap 33 of 56, the drivers were running in P10 and P11 respectively.

    However, in the final few laps, Alonso was forced to pit after dropping back slightly and the #14 car was subsequently retired from the event. Despite his disappointment, the two-time world champion was taking positives from the progression he was able to make before his issue, and remained hopeful that this would put the squad in a good position for the upcoming Mexican Grand Prix.

    Alonso says Aston Martin still investigating cause of his DNF in Austin

    “It was a tremendous race from Aston Martin today,” Alonso said. “I started from the pit lane, [and we] probably [could have] both finished in the points – P8, P9, that was the target for the final stint. We felt faster than [in] the previous sessions this weekend here in Austin, so we have to learn.

    “We did a lot of tests in the car between the Sprint and the race, and both cars [had a] different configuration as well, so we have to put all that data [on] the table and get to Mexico more prepared and with the best configuration possible.”

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    When asked about the reason for his retirement, Alonso explained: “[It’s] still under investigation, I think something on the floor underneath or the rear suspension or something. It’s a very bumpy track, very aggressive on kerbs.

    “Initially I felt something on the suspension, so it was not safe anymore to run. It hurts, because when you start from the pit lane and you are in the points, maybe P8… Yeah, it was a good race from us with no reward.”

    Stroll beaming after pitlane-to-points run in Texas

    Stroll, meanwhile, did end the day in a points-paying position after crossing the line in ninth, though he was later promoted to seventh following the disqualification of Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc.

    On whether he was surprised by Aston Martin’s performance on Sunday considering their earlier struggles during the weekend at the Circuit of The Americas, the Canadian responded: “Well, we changed a lot of things, that’s why we started from the pit lane, so it was much better today.”

    There was a slightly unusual incident for Stroll ahead of the race when he initially headed to the grid after his recon lap, rather than entering the pit lane. He has since stated that this was “just a miscommunication” – with the stewards investigating before ruling that no further action was required in the incident.