Fernando Alonso thinks Ferrari ‘got lucky’ at Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Jamie Woodhouse
Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, on the grid with drink. Azerbaijan, April 2023.

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, standing on the Baku grid with a drink. Azerbaijan, April 2023.

Fernando Alonso thinks dropping tyre temperatures saved Ferrari from Aston Martin’s clutches in Baku, but they may not get so “lucky” in Miami.

Alonso would pull a fantastic move down the inside on Carlos Sainz upon the race restart on Lap 14, improving to P4 in the process, but the other Ferrari, driven by Charles Leclerc, proved to be a far greater challenge to clear.

Leclerc admittedly started with quite the advantage having launched from pole position, but once he had been cleared by the runaway Red Bull duo, for Leclerc it became a story of fending off Alonso in the Aston Martin to secure a first podium finish of F1 2023.

And there would be no way through for Alonso, Leclerc standing firm to join Red Bull’s race winner Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen on the podium for the first time this season.

Conditions would turn cloudy in the latter stages of the race, and although it only started to rain long after the chequered flag, that cloud did cause track temperatures to drop, and Alonso believes this is what saved Ferrari, considering the Scuderia’s ongoing struggles to keep their tyres happy in race conditions.

Next up though is the Miami Grand Prix next weekend, a venue where track temperatures are expected to be a little more toasty, which Alonso says should ensure that Ferrari’s Baku luck dries up.

“I think they got lucky,” Alonso told Sky Sports F1. “The hard tyres was less degradation than expected.

“I think we put the hard tyre [on] when the Safety Car came and it was 38 laps to the end, and it held on quite well, and also there were some clouds now towards the end, so the track temperature was dropping.

“I think with the mediums, the Ferraris they had a massive degradation in the first stint, so on a normal hot race, I think they will struggle a little bit more. Today was good for them, but Miami is going be a different thing.”

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As for his Aston Martin team, Alonso admitted that it was far from a smooth race weekend as his streak of F1 2023 podium finishes came to an end.

He and team-mate Lance Stroll had suffered with DRS issues earlier in the weekend, though Alonso was keen to look at the positives, considering how his team put so much pressure on Ferrari on what would be considered an off day.

“The summary of the weekend is that Aston had a tricky Baku weekend let’s say,” Alonso concluded.

“With the DRS problems, on the setup, we were not that fast in any of the sessions, and we’re still one second from the podium.

“And Ferrari, they had the perfect weekend, pole position on the main race, pole position on the sprint race, super fast car and they were just one second from the Astons. So overall, we have to be happy.”

Stroll would cross the line P7 in the other Aston Martin, so while the team remain P2 in the Constructors’ standings, their deficit to Red Bull has grown to 93 points.