A “proud” Fernando Alonso quipped that Aston Martin’s regression means his display during qualifying at Suzuka is likely to go unnoticed, as he scraped into the top 10.
Aston Martin started 2023 strongly, often with the second-fastest car, but has been overhauled through the year by Mercedes and Ferrari, with mid-season gainers McLaren also jumping in front.
Aston Martin failed to score in Singapore – its first event without points this year – and Alonso’s team-mate Lance Stroll was eliminated in Q1 in Japan.
Alonso escaped both Q1 and Q2 but was the slowest of the 10 competitors in the final shootout.
“I think we were P14 in Q1, P10 in Q2, P10 in Q3, so right in the limit of the cut always,” said Alonso.
“It’s a tough weekend, even though, yeah, I mean, we are in every session so far in Q3, the top 10, but today was [only] just [inside].
“I think on paper we were a little bit concerned about the high speed corners and nature of Suzuka, as we are in Qatar as well, we know on paper maybe Qatar is not the best circuit for us.
“But, even on difficult days we still managed to be on Q3, thanks to very good laps, this type of qualifying again they will be unnoticed for many people but I’m very proud.”
Alonso emphasised that he is on “the same [level] throughout the season, but at the beginning of the year I was fighting for nine or 10 points but now I’m [fighting for] four or five, but I’m at the same level.
“It’s like Max [Verstappen], he didn’t wake up this weekend and he’s driving back on the top and in Singapore he was just sleeping. He was P11 in Singapore and he was the best of all of us and he is on pole today and he’s still the best.”