Although Aston Martin exceeded pretty much everyone’s expectations in Bahrain, Damon Hill doesn’t expect them to challenge Red Bull for the title as they “won’t be getting any help from Red Bull from now”.
Hill was alluding to the fact that this year’s AMR23 was in part the brainchild of former Red Bull aerodynamicist and now Aston Martin technical director Dan Fallows.
The Briton left his former team in 2021 before joining Aston Martin the following year in April.
The timing of that meant when Aston Martin put out a ‘green Red Bull’, as it was dubbed, at last year’s Spanish Grand Prix eyebrows were raised, most notably Helmut Marko’s, as he questioned whether Red Bull’s intellectual property had followed Fallows out of the door.
The FIA cleared Aston Martin of any hint of wrongdoing while Red Bull team boss Christian Horner admitted one cannot erase what’s already in someone’s head.
But while Fallows had knowledge of Red Bull’s RB18, he wasn’t around for the this year’s RB19.
Aston Martin, with what the reigning World Champions believe to be another Red Bull-esque car in this year’s AMR23, joined Red Bull on the podium at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix but Hill has ruled out a title challenge from the Silverstone-based team.
“I think that might be a stretch too far,” he told Sky Sports News. “They’ve exceeded everyone’s expectations, they’ve exceeded mine, and they’ve probably exceeded their own so they’re very, very delighted at the moment.
“Lawrence [Stroll] has put his money where his mouth is and he’s put together this team and I think everyone thought ‘come on Lawrence, you know you’re going lose a lot of money here, you’re getting a little bit ahead of yourself.’
“But he proved everyone wrong.
“He’s put together this team, has put together the car. They’ve got Dan Fallows, who is ex-Red Bull and he knows a thing or two about what Red Bull are up to. So there’s a little bit of insight but they certainly won’t be getting any help from Red Bull from now on.”
He added: “A great performance and actually overshadowed the Mercedes team. Poor old Lewis [Hamilton] and George Russell. This was a race that Toto [Wolff] described as the worst day in motor racing. I mean, they were humiliated, they were beaten by a customer car.”
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The 1996 World Champion reckons Alonso was the star of Sunday’s race.
While Max Verstappen raced off into the distance, the reigning World Champion taking the chequered flag 12 seconds ahead of his team-mate Sergio Perez, Alonso raced Lewis Hamilton and Carlos Sainz for the final podium position.
“I think there was some very forlorn looking team bosses down the pits,” Hill said, “because it was a case of they [Red Bull] just cleaned up, and they disappeared into the distance.
“You couldn’t really forgive them for not knowing who was in the lead because poor old Max was out there doing his business, half a minute up the road.
“The rest of them were tripping over the rails with the exception, of course of Fernando Alonso in the Aston Martin, which really for me was the winner of the race.
“I mean he put on the he put on the show, he put a fantastic dice on with Lewis Hamilton. So there was an action there and got the crowd on their feet.”