Fernando Alonso is confident about Sunday’s race in Miami but he has played down any expectations of ending the weekend on the podium.
The Spaniard will start on the front row of the grid in Miami alongside pole-sitter Sergio Perez.
The Aston Martin driver was able to qualify higher up the order by setting a fast lap early in Q3 before Charles Leclerc crashed heavily at Turn 7.
The incident brought out the red flags meaning that Max Verstappen was unable to complete his hot lap late in the session, leaving Leclerc and Verstappen with the qualifying positions of P7 and P9 respectively.
“I think there was a lot of pace in the car still because the Q3 lap was made on a used tyre on the first attempt,” Alonso said after qualifying.
While he believed that Aston Martin should be capitalising off Mercedes’ issues this weekend, he is certain that a podium finish will be difficult as Verstappen makes progress from behind as well as Carlos Sainz starting from 3rd and Leclerc making it through the field from seventh.
Alonso had made impressive gains in qualifying in comparison to team-mate Lance Stroll, who failed to make it out of Q1.
“I don’t think that we have to target a win, especially after how the weekend went,” he added.
“I think even the podium is going to be difficult but, you know, we do our race.
“We’ve been doing this the whole season, we are in a privileged position, we never expected to be here.
Alonso started the 2023 Formula 1 season with three consecutive podiums in the opening three rounds with Aston Martin but finished P4 behind Charles Leclerc in Baku. To add another podium in Miami would be “fantastic,” he said.
“Every lap we do, every race lap that we will do tomorrow in these kind of positions is a gift at the moment.
“So, I think the team is enjoying it. We will try to pass Checo into Turn 1, because we love to lead the race, at least for a few laps.
“And after that, it’s just… we will end up in the position we deserve. If it’s P5, it’s going to be P5. If it’s P7, P7.
“If it’s another podium it will be fantastic. But I think it’s going to be a tough race.”