As Sergio Perez yet again failed to shine at the Canadian Grand Prix, Fernando Alonso has quite simply declared “yes” he can beat the Mexican driver to P2 this season.
First place in this year’s Drivers’ Championship is all but a done deal with Max Verstappen winning six of eight grands prix to race out to a 69-point advantage in the standings.
But the battle for the runner-up spot is heating up, Alonso and Lewis Hamilton helped by Perez’s ongoing struggles with the Red Bull driver sixth in Montreal after his qualifying woes meant he lined up P12 on the grid.
With only four top-three results to his name, despite being in the best car on the grid, it has allowed Alonso with his six podiums in the Aston Martin to narrow the deficit to just nine points.
Asked if he thought he could beat Perez to P2 in the standings, Alonso simply replied: “Yes.”
It has been an incredible start to the 41-year-old’s first season with Aston Martin, the team rebounding from a lacklustre Spanish Grand Prix to once again edge ahead of Mercedes in Montreal.
Alonso was second behind race winner Verstappen, the first time barring Australia that he has finished within 10s of the Red Bull winner. He also beat the Mercedes of Hamilton by five seconds despite the Briton getting the jump on him at the start.
That led to Hamilton quipping in the TV pen after the race that Alonso’s “reactions are a little slow…it’s an age thing”.
He was asked about his slow get-away in the post race press conference, and replied: “My reactions are still very good! No, I don’t think…
“I need to check, I don’t know if the guys starting on that side of the grid, they started good or not. Because I only sure Max and Lewis, obviously, but George didn’t overtake me, so maybe it was just the wrong side of the grid. Yeah, I cannot answer now.”
Adamant he’s showing some of his best form ever, the double World Champion really wants that 33rd race win with the Spaniard having not won a grand prix in the past decade.
“Everything is good to be honest,” he told Sky Sports. “I cannot think of another time in my career that I was this confident with a team and with the project itself because it’s more a medium to long-term project.
“I don’t know if I will be driving [then]. I always have in my in my mind that yes because as long as I feel fast, and I still enjoy it, why would I stop. At the moment I’m enjoying it.
“There is more to come. I want to win a race this year. Today I thought maybe it was possible if Max had a mistake, a bad pit stop or something, but we were too far to force that error, but the car is going in the right direction. So more opportunities will come.”