*** ----> Alonso upbeat with ‘nice surprise’ in qualifying Bahrain race | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Alonso upbeat with ‘nice surprise’ in qualifying Bahrain race

TDT | Manama                                                      

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

Two-time Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso expressed his delight with Aston Martin’s results in qualifying last night for tonight’s Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix 2024.

The Spaniard, who is the only driver still on the grid from the field that competed in the Kingdom’s first-ever F1 race in 2004, is set to start from sixth, while teammate Lance Stroll will be in 12th.

“It was a nice surprise tonight in Qualifying to finish sixth and a very good way to start the new season,” said Alonso, who is a three-time winner at Bahrain International Circuit and who claimed a podium for third place in last year’s race in Sakhir on his debut with Aston Martin.

“We were cautious heading into the session, but we found ourselves competitive and in the end we were only a tenth away from the Ferraris in Q3.

“The car felt more connected this weekend and our fine tuning was a real positive. “I think it will be very close tomorrow in the race and the fine margins between us all means how we manage everything will be key.

Let’s see what we can do, but I’m confident heading into the race.” Team principal Mike Krack added: “A well-executed Qualifying session sets us up nicely for a strong race where we can compete for strong points.

Our Qualifying laps were clean and tidy, and we saw just how close all the teams are this year in terms of single-lap performance.

“You have to really get everything right in these circumstances because every tenth of a second matters.

“Our focus over the winter has been to close the gap to the front and the early indications are encouraging, but it’s only the first Qualifying session of the year and we need to see how things unfold in the race.

“We will finally get the answers tomorrow on race performance: we’ve done our homework and have prepared well over the last couple of weeks, so let’s see what we can do.”