Fernando Alonso’s last win in Formula 1 came 10 years ago at the Spanish Grand Prix; the Aston Martin driver was narrowly beaten to pole position by Max Verstappen last time out in Monaco and thinks Qualifying at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Saturday will be very close
Last Updated: 02/06/23 7:33pm
Fernando Alonso believes just “one or two tenths” will change the grid at the Spanish Grand Prix after a close second practice.
Alonso was 0.170 seconds behind Max Verstappen in the second session on Friday, with the top 17 split by less than one second around the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
It was a contrast to Practice One, where championship leader Verstappen was more than three-quarters of a second ahead of the field.
“I think it’s so tight that one or two tenths will put you in a completely different spot on the classification. So don’t bring too much attention on the times,” said Alonso.
“We went through all the programmes that we had before practice, which is a good thing – learning about the tyres, the track is slower maybe than what we predicted, so there’s still more time to find more tweaks on the set-up, but it was a productive Friday.”
Asked if Aston Martin’s upgrades at the Spanish GP worked as intended, Alonso added: “Absolutely. There is not a new part that we put on the car that is not helping the performance. That’s something that has always been the case with the team since Bahrain.
“So, happy with the upgrades and let’s see tomorrow, when everyone goes to full power, where we are.”
Verstappen: The car was in a good window
Verstappen, who won his maiden F1 race at the 2016 Spanish GP, is looking for consecutive pole positions for the first time this season.
The Red Bull driver enjoyed driving through the fast penultimate corner after the slow-speed chicane was ditched ahead of this year’s event.
“It’s been a lot more fun to drive. F1 cars in general feel better in high speed so for me the last two corners are much better to drive,” he said.
“I tried to follow a few cars as well and it seemed quite OK through there as well. Positively surprised for the overtaking and overall we had a very good day.
“The car was in a good window and you try to fine tune a few things here and there but short run, long run everything seemed quite good.
“From my side I felt very comfortable in the car looking after the tyres. I still need to look at the lap times of others but from our side it was a good day. [The bumps] are not too bad. This track has been resurfaced a few years ago and it’s still quite decent.”
Alonso hopes to put on ‘good show’ for fans
Alonso’s popularity in Spain has seen a sea of green fans turn out around the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, representing the green of Aston Martin.
The two-time world champion says 67 per cent of the fans at the Spanish GP were wearing the Aston Martin colours on Friday.
“It’s amazing. I think this is going back to the 2005/06/07 years, where everything was in one colour,” added Alonso, who last won in F1 10 years ago at his home event.
“I really feel that support, that special energy. The fan forum this morning was amazing. While driving I cannot hear them, but I feel how enthusiastic they are. So hopefully we put a good show for them.”
Sky Sports F1’s live Spanish GP schedule
Saturday June 3
9.25am: F3 Sprint
11.15am: Spanish GP Practice Three (session starts 11.30am)
1.10pm: F2 Sprint
2.15pm: Spanish GP Qualifying build-up
3pm: Spanish GP Qualifying
6.15pm: IndyCar – Detroit GP Qualifying
Sunday June 4
8.50am: F3 Feature Race
10.20am: F2 Feature Race
12.30pm: Grand Prix Sunday Spanish GP build-up
2pm: THE SPANISH GRAND PRIX
4pm: Chequered Flag Spanish GP reaction
5.45pm: Indy NXT – Detroit GP
8pm: IndyCar – Detroit GP
Will Red Bull’s winning run in F1 2023 continue at the Spanish GP? Watch all the action live on Sky Sports F1, with Qualifying at 3pm on Saturday and the race at 2pm on Sunday. Get Sky Sports