Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, Circuit de Catalunya, 2023

Alonso believes Q3 error cost him second on the grid even with damage from Q1

2023 Spanish Grand Prix

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Fernando Alonso says he could have qualified on the front row of the grid had he not made a second mistake during qualifying after damaging his car’s floor.

One error in Q1 left him with a damaged floor for the rest of the session, while another in Q3 potentially cost him a place on the front row alongside Max Verstappen, he believes.

Alonso will start his home race from ninth on the grid, his worst qualifying position of the season so far. Asked by RaceFans where he thought he could have qualified he said “P2,” believing he could have matched the 1’12.7 times of second-placed Carlos Sainz Jnr and Lando Norris behind him.

“Probably even with the floor as it was, because in the Q3 lap I was coming for a 12.7 until turn 10. But again I ran wide into the damp part in turn 10 on the outside.

“So when I saw now that a 12.7 is P2 and P3, I was surprised. That’s why I’m optimistic for tomorrow because the car seems to have a lot of pace.”

The Aston Martin driver was disappointed in himself for his mistake at the final corner. “Q1 probably did compromise everything today,” he said. “I did a mistake.

“I went from the damp part of the circuit, I guess, at the last corner, because I lost the car. And then it was very costly because that gravel completely destroys the floor.

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“It hurts even more because it was the out-lap, I was not even pushing, it was not the push lap it was the out-lap. So I’m disappointed with my performance today. Hopefully I can do a better Sunday.”

He said the AMR23 was “moving weirdly in a few corners” afterwards, “but you never know if it’s just the wind or just the track conditions.”

While Alonso’s damage did not stop him from continuing his run of reaching Q3 in every qualifying session this year, he was surprised to see so many drivers from the top teams fail to reach the top 10 today.

“It was a strange qualifying to see Leclerc out of Q1 and Perez, Russell out of Q2. We were struggling as well. So it was tricky for everyone. In my case it was just my mistake in the out lap of Q1, so that compromises everything.

“But the race is tomorrow. The car still feels competitive even with some damage on the floor. So if we put everything together for tomorrow, I’m still optimistic that we can score many points.”

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2023 Spanish Grand Prix

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    Author information

    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
    Claire Cottingham
    Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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