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Alonso hoping to ‘put some pressure’ on Verstappen and challenge for victory in Canadian GP

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Fernando Alonso has expressed optimism over his and Aston Martin’s chances of taking the fight to Max Verstappen and ending Red Bull’s 2023 winning run in the Canadian Grand Prix.

Alonso secured third on the grid during Saturday’s qualifying session in Montreal, behind Verstappen and Haas’s Nico Hulkenberg, as persistent rain impacted proceedings.

READ MORE: Verstappen charges to pole for Canadian GP as Hulkenberg grabs surprise P2 in wet and wild qualifying session

After stepping out of the car, Alonso said: “It was a very tricky qualifying in terms of choosing the right tyre at the right time, and P3, we take it – it’s a good starting position.”

Alonso was then asked about his chances of “getting to the top” and eclipsing Red Bull, who have won all seven races so far this season – with pole-sitter Verstappen bagging five of them.

“Let’s see,” he said. “I think tomorrow we have a chance to put some pressure [on them]. They have had very easy wins until now and hopefully tomorrow they have to push a little bit more.”

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Alonso pushed his upgraded Aston Martin to third in the tricky qualifying conditions

Pushed on how he can get closer, and making reference to Red Bull’s previous winning margins, he teased: “[By being] two seconds behind them, not 20 seconds behind them!”

Alonso is set to start the race 10 places ahead of team mate and home favourite Lance Stroll, who dropped out in the Q2 phase after damaging his front wing in an off at Turn 6.

READ MORE: ‘We are just making our lives so much more difficult’ – Leclerc calls on Ferrari to ‘improve now’ after Montreal Q2 exit

“We changed the wing, went back out, but just were on the wrong tyres at the wrong time at that point of the session, and that was kind of the end of it for us,” Stroll lamented. “[But] there’s definitely a lot of opportunity here on Sundays, so we’ll see what we can do.”

Aston Martin approach the race holding third in the constructors’ standings, 18 points down on second-placed Mercedes, with Alonso finishing on the podium at five of the opening seven races this season.

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Qualifying Highlights: 2023 Canadian Grand Prix

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