F1: Fernando Alonso returns to the podium at the Bahrain GP with the “fantastic car” | Formula 1 | Sports| The USA Print

Fernando Alonso's Aston Martin, during the race.

Max Verstappen and Red Bull began their journey in the Formula 1 World Championship this season in the same way that they ended the previous one: by sweeping. The current champion took four of the last five Grands Prix of the last year, a streak that beautifully illustrated his superiority and that of his team, capable of celebrating the alirón in Suzuka, four appointments before the end. If we take into account the shapes of the first stop of this calendar, with the previous information that the winter tests left, the panorama that this 2023 anticipates is very similar to what we had then. In Bahrain, where less than 15 days ago Red Bull put fear into the body of the rest of the grid, Verstappen took a military walk to win the first race of the year. Checo Pérez, the best consort that Mad Max has ever had, used the first double of the energy structure, while Fernando Alonso returned to the podium two years later (Qatar 2021) in his debut with Aston Martin. As they say that joy goes to neighborhoods, the rush of the Silverstone team coincided with the trigger of Ferrari, which hit third place with Charles Leclerc when the Monegasque car ran dry (lap 42). as a result of a propellant failure. Carlos Sainz, fourth, managed to keep Lewis Hamilton (fifth) at bay and avoided an even bigger disaster. But if someone was dazzled with his own light, it was Fernando Alonso.

Aston Martin’s improvement this winter picked up even more in Sakhir, where Alonso was able to recover from a poor start, in which he lost two positions. Especially showy were the brawls with Hamilton and Sainz, now yes, on equal terms. The scuffle with the British (turns 37 and 38) evoked times past, when both coincided at McLaren in that explosive 2007. With Sainz, the battle turned out to be somewhat less because ‘Il Cavallino Rampante’ was already very close when the Oviedo arrived like a miura to his colleague. “This is a fantastic car to drive,” the 41-year-old two-time world champion (2005 and 2006) released, when he was already driving alone and was simply discounting the turns.

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For a long time, the speed in the long runs of laps has been directly linked to the level of degradation of the tires. Now one can drive a real bullet, as is the Ferrari thanks to the muscle that hides its engine, which if the car does not pamper the tires will make it impossible to meet the objectives set, and will force the strategists to look for alternative routes to try to relativize that handicap . None of that fazes Red Bull because their RB19 has it all. It doesn’t run as fast as the red car on the straights, nor does it get as much out of it as the Aston Martin in the first stretch of acceleration. But globally there is no more balanced prototype than the red buffalo.

Fernando Alonso’s Aston Martin, during the race. GIUSEPPE CACACE (AFP)

The test in Bahrain is due to accepting most of the indications that left the preseason as good. Apart from the superiority of the troops from Milton Keynes (Great Britain), the lack of success of Mercedes was also confirmed, the great degradation that Ferrari causes to the compounds. And, above all, the brutal acceleration given by Aston Martin. Thanks to the injection of capital provided by Lawrence Stroll, its largest shareholder, and to the incorporations that he has made in the technical department, the green team has done a triple somersault with a pirouette. If we take into account the limitations that currently affect Mercedes and Ferrari, and the stability that the AMR23 has shown every time it has taken to the track, it is not unreasonable to think that the green car is the second most competitive at the moment, a sensation endorsed doubly in Bahrain. Not only because of the photo of Alonso on the podium, but also because of the sixth place in the hands of Lance Stroll, his neighbor, 12 days after going through those of the Catalan doctor Xavier Mir, who repaired the damage that was done in the doll being thrown from his bicycle.

With the voracity that still moves Alonso –his last podium was activated with Alpine in November 2021, in Losail– and the advantage that the fact of emerging from the catacombs gives Aston Martin –more hours in the wind tunnel–, makes it difficult to establish the point to which a project that has broken all the schemes can reach.

Start of the Bahrain GP race, this Sunday.
Start of the Bahrain GP race, this Sunday. Ali Haider (EFE)

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