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Alonso hails ‘step in the right direction’ for Aston Martin after battling with rivals en route to P5 in Jeddah

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JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 09: Fernando Alonso of Spain and Aston Martin F1 Team prepares to

Fernando Alonso was left satisfied with his P5 result in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, with the Spaniard suggesting that his Aston Martin team have made progress from the season-opening round in Bahrain.

After starting from fourth place on the grid, Alonso lost a place to the McLaren of Oscar Piastri in the opening laps but continued to pressure the Australian.

READ MORE: Verstappen seals assured victory in Saudi Arabian Grand Prix as Bearman scores points on debut

He then benefitted from making a pit stop under the Safety Car – which was called on Lap 7 following a crash for his team mate Lance Stroll – given that two of the cars close to him on track, Lando Norris and Lewis Hamilton, opted to stay out.

From there Alonso went on to finish in fifth, three seconds behind Piastri in fourth and four seconds clear of sixth-placed George Russell.

“I feel great,” Alonso commented after the race, before joking as he tried to speak over the loud post-race fireworks: “I feel a little more uncomfortable now!”

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‘P5 tastes really good’ says beaming Alonso after strong race in Jeddah

“The race was good,” he continued. “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 race.”

WATCH: Stroll crashes out of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix after clipping wall

Last time out in Bahrain, Alonso slipped backwards from sixth on the grid to a final result of ninth after struggling with race pace. As such, the two-time world champion is happy with the progress made in Jeddah but remains hopeful that Aston Martin can build on this further heading to the next round on the calendar in Australia.

JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 09: Fernando Alonso of Spain driving the (14) Aston Martin AMR24

Alonso was able to fight with the likes of McLaren and Mercedes during the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

“It is a small step in the right direction, but we still need to make another step especially on race pace,” added Alonso. “We took advantage also on the Safety Car, Hamilton and Norris could not stop at the same time as their team mates and we capitalise on that.

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

FACTS AND STATS: Bearman makes it four Brits in the points for the first time since 1968

With Stroll having retired from the race due to his aforementioned crash, Alonso was the sole Aston Martin to finish the Grand Prix and the team now have a total of 13 points, putting them in fifth place of the constructors’ standings.

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