Fernando Alonso admitted he thought his chances of finishing on the podium were over after Sergio Perez passed him for third place on the penultimate lap of the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Alonso held his place within the podium places for much of the race but came under attack from Perez after they made their final pit stops. “For me it was like 30 laps that I had the pressure from Checo,” he said.
As the penultimate lap began Perez passed Alonso in the DRS zone leading to turn one. Alonso tried to retake the place immediately but was rebuffed.
“When he passed me two laps to the end I thought okay, this is gone,” said Alonso. “The podium is not possible anymore.”
However a small error by Perez as the final lap began handed Alonso an opportunity to take the place back. “He braked a little bit late into one and I said okay, I go for it into four.”
With Lance Stroll finishing fifth, Aston Martin have ended a run of poor performances by scoring their best two-car finish since the Australian Grand Prix in April.
“This is a phenomenal result for the team,” said Alonso. “We’ve been struggling for a couple of months already, especially the last two events with two retirements. So this podium is for them, for everyone in the factory. We keep fighting until the last lap.”
The team’s downturn in form came after they introduced new parts to their car which did not perform as intended. They reverted to some older specification parts this weekend and took advantage of unusual conditions in qualifying to lock out the second row of the grid and pull off a badly needed result.
“Obviously we’re still learning about the car,” said Alonso. “These cars are so complex aerodynamically. So we’ve been experimenting a little bit to find the direction for next year without forgetting this year that we’re still competing so happy for the result and now to Vegas.”
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2023 Brazilian Grand Prix
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