Fernando Alonso brought spectators their first glimpse of a shakeup this season by placing his Aston Martin out front in FP2.
During testing, all eyes were on a noticeably speedy and reliable AMR23, but the two-time world champion persisted in playing down Aston Martin’s promising performance.
The 41-year-old will be looking to continue on this upward trajectory with the team at the Bahrain Grand Prix after having a taste of leaving the usual favourites – Red Bull, Ferrari, and Mercedes – in his rearview mirrors.
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Speaking after topping FP2 timesheets, he said: “Well, obviously it is another step in the right direction. The car still feels good but we need to wait and see. At the moment, there is still not much focus on times because we have to improve a few things on the car in terms of setup but also it is still early days.
“Even on the meetings, on the approach to racing, we are changing a lot of things and trying to reinforce the team in every area, not only on the car performance. It is going to be a very interesting process but I think the team is learning every day.
“Let’s see what happens in the first couple of races. At the moment, it is only a few test sessions. I think Lawrence (Stroll) has a vision on everything he does and it is very difficult to see Lawrence fail on anything that he has into his vision.
“It is a matter of time that Aston Martin can challenge top teams. We are in an interesting process with a completely new car, new technical department, and a lot of things we are learning and there is still a long way to go”.