Alonso thrilled with podium return at Zandvoort as he says Aston Martin car was ‘flying’ in tricky conditions
Fernando Alonso was full of positive words about the handling of his Aston Martin as the Spaniard and the team returned to the podium positions with a run to second in a chaotic, rain-hit Dutch Grand Prix.
Alonso qualified fifth at the tight, twisty Zandvoort circuit but almost immediately rose to third with a bold double pass on Williams’ Alex Albon and Mercedes’ George Russell at Turn 3 on the opening lap, which saw spits of rain turn into a full shower.
Having also jumped McLaren’s Lando Norris, Alonso remained in the front-running mix and made the most of further changeable conditions, the appearance of the Virtual Safety Car, full Safety Car and a red flag to come home second behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen – marking his first podium since Canada two months ago.
“It was a very intense race,” said Alonso, who gained a spot when Sergio Perez spun off before the late red flag. “Obviously at the beginning, with the wet conditions, we were very, very fast, and we stopped maybe one lap too late, but the same as the leaders.
“The car was flying today, very competitive, very easy to drive. In these conditions you need a car that you can trust, and I did trust the car a lot today, I did enjoy.
“Thanks to all the fans, the energy that we have here in Zandvoort is very unique. Two years ago, when this race came [back to the calendar], I thought I will never experience the Zandvoort podium, because I was not in a position to think about that.”
Asked how hard it was to focus amid all the drama, Alonso added: “It is one of those races that it is difficult to concentrate, to stay focused for such a long period of time. But as I said, this is a very special racetrack, with all the fans and the energy going on, so you feel always very focused.
“I’m happy for Max, congratulations for everyone [here]. I did think about trying a move at the last restart, but then I thought maybe I cannot exit the circuit! So, I stayed calm in second.”
With Lance Stroll taking 11th in the other Aston Martin, the Silverstone operation remain third in the constructors’ standings behind Red Bull and Mercedes, while Alonso holds the same spot in the drivers’ standings, behind Verstappen and Perez.