Fernando Alonso says it will be a long shot for Aston Martin to get the result they need in the last race of the Formula 1 season today to beat McLaren to fourth place in the championship.
However McLaren enjoyed a much strong qualifying session than their rivals yesterday. Alonso will start seventh, six places ahead of team mate Lance Stroll. McLaren’s drivers start ahead of both of them: Oscar Piastri third, Lando Norris fifth.
“I’m optimistic that we can score points,” Alonso said after qualifying, but admitted “we need something more than a normal race” to challenge McLaren.
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Alonso said, would in any case be “a tough race.”
“I think tyres are struggling a little bit more than what we thought. So I think tyre management is going to be the key.
“Also the traffic, I think when you are in a group of cars and you are fighting the tyres, they seem to struggle a lot more than when you are in free air.
“But there is no free air with the gaps that we have right now. We are all in the same laps. So I think it is going to be a very long race,” Alonso concluded.
Aston Martin’s fight for fourth in the constructors’ title would be the focus for the race, Alonso said. “For us obviously, McLaren is the only target that we have. They are starting both of them in front of us.
“So we need a little bit of chaos if we want to overtake them, in a normal race they will finish in front of us and that’s not good enough.”
Tyre management around Yas Marina is a major concern for teams. Pierre Gasly, who suffered badly with graining in the last race, said he had made compromises to his set-up to prevent a repeat.
“I struggled so much with graining last weekend that this weekend I sort of compromised a bit the car set-up to make sure that I’m protected as much as possible against it,” said the Alpine driver. “I’ve done a few things which I would have normally not done just to make sure from last week that there is not a repeat of that.”
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