Fernando Alonso says he is expecting to be in contention for pole position on Saturday in Monaco.
Ahead of the weekend, Aston Martin’s package was touted to suit the narrow Monte Carlo street track and Alonso immediately showcased its potential by ending the first practice session in second place.
Although he fell to fourth place at the end of FP2, the gap to Max Verstappen at the top of the times was just two-tenths of a second.
Alonso has not taken a pole position in F1 since the 2012 German Grand Prix, but has lacked the machinery in recent years to compete at the high end of the field.
However, a strong start to the 2023 campaign, his first with Aston Martin, has seen him take four podiums from the first five races.
With his confidence running high behind the wheel in Monaco, the Spaniard is expecting to be one of the drivers fighting for pole position on Saturday.
“[I have] a lot of confidence, I came with a lot of confidence already,” he said.
“This car gave me positive things all through the year. It didn’t disappoint today, it was enjoyable to drive and I’m ready for tomorrow.
“I think tomorrow everything is to play [for], but we should be one of the candidates [for pole].
“The car felt good. It was easy to drive, which is what you would expect on this kind of circuit. So I’m happy.”
Currently, Aston Martin’s closest rival in the standings is Mercedes, who introduced a host of upgrades to the W14 car in Monaco.
While Alonso couldn’t draw conclusions over Mercedes’ pace in Monaco, he says Aston Martin must accept that the gaps between the two will fluctuate throughout the year.
“I think they were always there in race trim,” he said. “In Australia, they were outstanding, they finished P2. I think it is going to be all through the season, up and down for everybody.
“We have to be consistent, try to deliver every weekend, maximise the points available, knowing and accepting that sometimes we will be quicker than them, sometimes we will be slower.”