Alonso and Stroll say DRS issues cost Aston Martin in Azerbaijan GP qualifying
Aston Martin drivers Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll qualified a respective P6 and P9 for the 2023 Azerbaijan Grand Prix – and both drivers reported DRS issues cost them time on Friday evening.
Alonso has taken three consecutive podiums this season but P6 in qualifying at Baku was his worst of the four sessions so far. The two-time champion wasn’t downtrodden given Saturday holds the Sprint Shootout and Sprint, but he did mention that his malfunctioning Drag Reduction System cost him time throughout Friday.
“I think… we could have been a little bit better. We had some issues in FP1 and also in qualifying with DRS, which cost us a few tenths," he Alonso said.
“Yeah, being so tight in the standing will make a difference but nevertheless it’s only Friday – it’s a long weekend ahead of us [with] Sprint qualifying tomorrow and another race and another race on Sunday. So yeah, plenty of opportunities and hopefully we can recover a few places."
The veteran driver added that the new format, which saw qualifying moved to Friday to make way for Saturday's Sprint qualifying session and the Sprint itself, is an exciting prospect.
“I think it’s going to be exciting. Waking up tomorrow and knowing that you go in the car and it’s Q1 already – so there is no warm-up, there is no practice, so we have to be ready for that. But yeah I like the challenge,” he said.
Team mate Stroll also expressed his support for the format.
“I enjoyed it, I enjoyed the format of the weekend, I thought it was exciting to get back into it this morning and this afternoon so yeah, looking forward to some action tomorrow,” said the Canadian.
Stroll did however echo Alonso as he noted that a lack of DRS cost him in Q3, leaving him ninth on the grid for Sunday's race.
“Yeah it was close, the car felt good but we had some DRS issues, Q3 especially I didn’t have DRS, so that cost some time.
“It’s just free lap time down the straights, so that’s frustrating. We just have to sort that out for the race. But, yeah, a little night’s sleep and straight back into qualifying tomorrow morning. So I’m looking forward to some more fast laps.”
Aston Martin sit second in the standings after a strong start to the season but fourth-placed team Ferrari hold the cards at this early stage in Azerbaijan.