Fernando Alonso and Aston Martin Wary of Max Verstappen Despite Red Bull Ace’s Qualifying Disaster

Somin Bhattacharjee
|Published 19/03/2023

Max Verstappen was the favorite to start the 2023 Saudi Arabian GP from the pole position heading into qualifying on Saturday. The Red Bull ace put up a stunning display in all three free practice sessions throughout the weekend, but in Q2 of qualifying, his engine showed problems. In the end, Verstappen had to retire his car because the mechanics could not fix the problem on time.

Verstappen failed to put a lap in, which means he will start the race in Jeddah from P15. Winning the race from the 15th position will be a herculean task, even for someone as good as Verstappen but his rivals are keeping one eye out on his potential charge up the field.

Aston Martin team principal Mike Krack, who celebrated his 51st birthday on Saturday, insists that he is not disregarding the fact that Verstappen can win the race despite his low grid position. Fernando Alonso and co. will be wary of the Dutchman, when the lights go out at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit on Sunday.

Also read: Red Bull & Mercedes Slapped With Brutal Reality As Fernando Alonso Kills Juvenile Trash Talk

Always have to watch Max Verstappen, says Mike Krack

In spite of Verstappen retiring, Red Bull’s pace was far too superior for others to catch up. The 25-year-old’s teammate Sergio Perez snatched pole position ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who will take a 10-place grid penalty. As a result, Alonso will start on the front row alongside Perez.

In terms of race pace, Aston Martin had the second-strongest car behind Red Bull at the opening race in Bahrain. The Silverstone-based outfit will be hoping for similar pace this weekend, and will look to take advantage of Verstappen’s low starting position to grab their first ever win in F1.

Krack, however, thinks it is not so easy because even with a disadvantage as big as this, Verstappen winning the race won’t be surprising. “Someone like Max Verstappen, wherever he starts, you always have to watch him,” he said. “He’s a strong driver. We will have an eye on him.”

Also read: Why Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen Will Find It Difficult to Overtake in Jeddah Corniche Circuit

Ferrari misfortune continues

Leclerc put in a stellar lap that put him in second place, and if he did have the opportunity to start from there, he could have potentially fought for the win. Unfortunately, he had to change his control electronics for the third time this year which means he will get a 10-place grid penalty.

Leclerc will start the Saudi Arabian GP from P12, which will make his charge up the field very difficult. The Monegasque driver feels that getting stuck in the middle of a DRS train in a midfield that is very close in terms of pace will make his evening in Jeddah very frustrating.

 


Share this article
About the author
Somin Bhattacharjee

Somin Bhattacharjee

Somin Bhattacharjee is an F1 writer at The SportsRush. He holds a bachelor's degree in business administration and aims to work in the sports industry for the rest of his life. Somin has been a fan of Scuderia Ferrari since 2010 and his favorite driver is none another than the great Fernando Alonso. Other than longing for a Ferrari Championship win once again, Somin spends his free time playing football and basketball.

Read more from Somin Bhattacharjee