Fernando Alonso resigned to McLaren fate despite Qatar qualifying resurgence

Jamie Woodhouse
Fernando Alonso adjusts his cap during a press conference.

Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso adjusts his cap during a press conference.

While Fernando Alonso will start ahead of the McLarens at the Qatar Grand Prix, he says Aston Martin must “accept” that they will lose P4 in the Constructors’ Championship to their rival.

Alonso’s Aston Martin team are desperately trying to ward off the much-improved McLaren team and hold on to P4 in the Constructors’ Championship, though form and momentum is very much on McLaren’s side.

An extremely effective string of upgrades for the MCL60 has seen McLaren become arguably the second-fastest team, with their deficit to Aston Martin in the standings now down to 49 points.

Fernando Alonso says Aston Martin must “accept” McLaren defeat

Alonso will have the advantage in terms of an on-track starting point for the Qatar Grand Prix, as he prepares to line-up P4 after McLaren’s Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris were demoted down the order due to Q3 track limits violations, though he believes Aston Martin are now fighting a losing battle.

At this point, he says Aston Martin must “accept” that McLaren will strip them of P4 and they must simply congratulate them for that.

“I mean, they have the momentum now, they’re scoring a lot of points, both cars, and they are very strong,” Alonso told reporters after qualifying.

“Eventually they will overtake us, we will have to accept it and say well done to them. But so far, we’re still in front and we will try to defend every race.”

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Nonetheless, Alonso was proud of his qualifying efforts in Qatar, acknowledging something of a return to form by securing his highest grid slot since the Canadian Grand Prix.

“Very, very happy. I think top six, it has been a few races that we were not as competitive as on the third line on the grid,” he said.

“So happy with the performance today, the car felt fast in FP1 with the tricky conditions and in qualifying we were also competitive.

“So it’s only the first step, the weekend is long with a lot of racing laps within the sprint and the main race, but I think it’s a good start.”

Alonso’s team-mate Lance Stroll had anything but a good start to the race weekend, suffering his fourth Q1 elimination in a row, which was followed by an altercation with his performance coach and osteopath, Henry Howe.

Read next: Lance Stroll blasted for ‘totally inappropriate’ behaviour towards his trainer