Fernando Alonso sends message to Red Bull with Monaco qualifying prediction
Fernando Alonso has backed up his aims for being in the hunt for pole position around Monaco on Saturday, after a positive practice outing for Aston Martin.
Alonso said ahead of the weekend that he hoped to be among those in the fight for the front of the grid in arguably the most crucial qualifying session of the season, with the Monaco layout being the shortest and slowest on the calendar.
With Red Bull’s straight-line speed being one of their key strengths in among their dominant campaign so far, Alonso had highlighted Monaco as a potential venue where Aston Martin could challenge the very front of the field, where top-end speed is less important than at other circuits.
Given the speed he and the Aston Martin AMR23 had around Monte Carlo on Friday, the two-time World Champion has no reason to believe he cannot be in the hunt come Saturday afternoon.
“It was a good day for us,” Alonso told reporters in the paddock after the session.
“We completed the run programme, a couple of red flags, it was the same for everybody, but we did enough laps to get confidence with the car, which is very important here, getting into the rhythm of the weekend.
“The car felt good, easy to drive, which is what you would expect in this kind of circuit. So I’m happy.
“I came with a lot of confidence already because this car gave me positive things all throughout the year.
“So it didn’t disappoint today. It was enjoyable to drive out, I had fun and I’m ready for tomorrow.”
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Alonso finished fourth in FP2, two tenths of Max Verstappen’s benchmark time in the session where qualifying simulations most commonly take place for the teams, putting him among the ballpark for the fastest times.
With Ferrari and Red Bull also in the hunt after Friday’s running, the Spaniard is confident that he could count himself among the contenders for a first pole position since the 2012 German Grand Prix.
“Let’s see,” he said when asked if pole was on his mind. “I think tomorrow everything is to play, but we should be one of the candidates, yes.”
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