Alonso ‘extremely happy’ after emerging from ‘stressful’ Sprint Qualifying with P3

SHANGHAI, CHINA - APRIL 18:  Fernando Alonso of Spain and Aston Martin F1 Team looks on in the

Fernando Alonso expressed his satisfaction after overcoming a tricky, rain-hit Sprint Qualifying session at the Chinese Grand Prix to secure an impressive top-three result for Aston Martin.

Fresh from signing a new contract with the team, Alonso squeezed his way into SQ3 in dry conditions and then, as rain arrived and the field switched to intermediates, slotted behind McLaren’s Lando Norris and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.

READ MORE: Norris claims pole ahead of Hamilton during frenetic wet Sprint Qualifying in China

The standout performance put Alonso just ahead of reigning world champion Max Verstappen on the grid for the Sprint, with the other Red Bull of Sergio Perez and Ferrari pair Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc also lapping slower.

Asked how the session played out from his perspective, Alonso said: “Quite stressful, to be honest! I mean in SQ1 we were just looking at the [weather] radar and the threat of rain was there since the first minute.

SHANGHAI, CHINA - APRIL 19: Fernando Alonso of Aston Martin and Spain  during Sprint Qualifying

Alonso used his experience in a wet and wild Sprint Qualifying session in Shanghai

“We made some progress in SQ1 and then [reached] SQ2 just, because we were P8 or P9. We were not super competitive in the dry, and then it rained at the end in SQ3 and every lap was a little bit different conditions.

“The tyres were a bit better every lap but the circuit was a little bit worse with more rain, so it was difficult to judge the level of grip and the level of risk that you wanted to apply. At the end, I’m extremely happy.”

AS IT HAPPENED: Follow all the action from Sprint Qualifying at the Chinese Grand Prix

Earlier in the day, Alonso spent the one-and-only practice session completing runs on Pirelli’s hard compound tyre, rather than posting headline-grabbing laps with the medium or soft rubber, as drivers worked through a variety of programmes.

As such, the Spaniard admitted to not having a “clear idea” of where he and the team stand ahead of the 100km Sprint, which precedes qualifying for the Grand Prix later on Saturday and then the Grand Prix itself on Sunday.

2024 Chinese GP Sprint Qualifying: Lando Norris seals pole for the Sprint in Shanghai

“We have a lot of racing laps now in the weekend, the Sprint race tomorrow and obviously the main race on Sunday,” he added. “Let’s see if we can qualify well again tomorrow.”

It was not such a successful Sprint Qualifying session for Alonso’s team mate, Lance Stroll, who wound up in 15th place after being the slowest runner in the second SQ2 phase.

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“It didn’t feel great,” the Canadian admitted afterwards. “Just no grip, really. “There’s not going to be much we can do in the Sprint – we’re 15th. But hopefully a better qualifying and race on Sunday.”

Aston Martin head into the weekend holding fifth position in the constructors’ standings, just a point behind Mercedes, with more prizes up for grabs in China given that the top eight finishers in the Sprint will all score.



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