The show at the Bahrain Grand Prix was run by Fernando Alonso from the moment he lost position with the Mercedes at the start. Staying seventh did not discourage him, aware that there were another 56 laps to go, and he began a patient ascent that led him to get on the podium after starring in the best overtaking of the first test of the year to Lewis Hamilton and giving the final blow to Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari.
Those two overtaking are more related than it might seem a priori, but to get there the Spaniard first left George Russell behind on the thirteenth lap. Then he would play Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo), who could hardly resist. And after fifteen laps of pursuit he hunted down the seven-time world champion.
The British pilot stopped in an attempt to avoid a undercut from his old rival, who moved up the positions as the ones in front stopped and entered the pit lane four laps later. Aston Martin’s strategy could not have gone better, as Fernando returned to the track practically wheel to wheel with Hamilton.
He caught him quickly and they left an epic battle: first he passed him opening the DRS in the second zone, but the Englishman returned it to him in turn four, so Alonso tried it differently, in the hardest turn on the circuit. Between turns 9 and 10 he tricked him so that the Mercedes man left his interior uncovered and came out ahead, just over two seconds behind Sainz.
While the Spaniard from Ferrari suffered from the degradation of his tires, Charles Leclerc was left stranded, and then the Asturian he pressed to hunt down his compatriotwho was already virtually on the podium.
The ‘Scuderia’, watching from the pit wall that it was a matter of time before ‘Magic’ tried to pass the man from Madrid, he warned him: “Before, Fernando attacked Hamilton between turns 9 and 10. She has passed him there. Keep an eye out just in case,” DAZN has revealed in F1 code.
By the time Fernando caught up with him, the team asked him to try to “protect the position”, but Sainz was clear that “if I push to defend myself, I may not reach the end” Given the state of your wheels.
With all this in mind, Alonso tried to repeat the play on said curve, but the one from Maranello knew the trick and he entered from the inside, although the Asturian’s pressure caused him to lock the wheels, which gave Fernando a free hand on the straight after the turn. “Bye, bye”, the Asturian would say when placing third.
The outcome could have been quite different, as the Aston Martin driver had tried to overtake Sainz earlier, at turn four. The AMR23 came out with more traction than the SF-23 and the left front wheel of the British team’s car contacted the rear of the Italian team’s car. “It has touched me?”Carlos asked surprised on the radio. Everything stayed there.
“I always respect Fernando. I think it was a beautiful battle, hard, but beautiful, fighting for the podium, which in the end he and Aston Martin deserved,” said the Spaniard after the race, congratulating the Silverstone squad.