Fernando Alonso will be eager to maximise his front-row start in Miami, although he recognises that competing with Red Bull will be a challenge.
There were some concerns about Aston Martin’s pace in FP3, with Alonso and Stroll both unable to put themselves in the top 10 – despite multiple attempts on the soft tyres.
Lance Stroll’s Q1 elimination was an obvious cause for alarm in the Aston garage, although a closer examination provided a clearer insight into the Canadian’s lap times.
The British squad opted to send both drivers on one set of softs, gambling that improving track conditions would be enough to avoid elimination.
Alonso’s anonymous P12 in Q1 was evidence of the risk Aston took. However, it became clear in the second elimination session that the Double Champion had more pace to show.
Alonso consistently set low 1:27s in Q2, putting himself in contention for a top-5 starting position with the Red Bulls and Ferraris.
An impressive banker lap in Q3 put the Spaniard in P2, which, courtesy of Leclerc’s late crash, was enough to secure a front-row start.
Considering that the AMR23 is typically stronger in race-trim than in qualifying, it seems feasible that another podium could be on the cards tomorrow.
However, whilst fighting for first place is always tempting, Alonso is cautious about his prospects on Sunday:
“I don’t think that we have to target a win, especially after how the weekend went. I think even the podium is going to be difficult, but, you know, we [will] do our race.
— Formula 1 (@F1) May 6, 2023
“We’ve been doing this the whole season. We are in a privileged position; we never expected to be here.
“So, every lap we do, every race lap that we will do tomorrow in these kinds 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.”
Red Bull’s performance is hardly a subject of debate, but there is plenty to discuss in the fight for second place in the constructors.
Aston Martin, Mercedes and Ferrari all have drivers out of position for the Miami GP – so it will be crucial for these teams to minimise the damage from a hectic qualifying.
Alonso, meanwhile, has an opportunity to put together another impressive race weekend and secure more important points for the standings.
Currently 3rd place overall, the Spaniard’s year has been characterised by professional and consistent drives. He will surely be looking to execute another clinical performance in the Miami GP.