Fernando Alonso’s ‘too good to be true’ podium in Bahrain fuels hopes of more F1 wins

Fernando Alonso said his third-place finish at Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix was “too good to be true” and fueled the belief he could win in Formula 1 again. Here’s what you need to know:

  • In his first race for Aston Martin, Alonso finished in third place behind the dominant Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez.
  • Alonso narrowly avoided being knocked out by teammate Lance Stroll on the first lap, but then passed Mercedes drivers George Russell and Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz to take third place.
  • It is Alonso’s 99th career podium, his first since Qatar 2021, and it renewed hope the 41-year-old can end a drought dating back to 2013.

What Alonso said

“When you’re P3 in the first race, there are 22 opportunities this season (to win),” Alonso said. “Even last year, I remember in Canada in wet qualifying, we were the front row on the grid. Anything can happen in 22 races with different conditions. I will do my best to get the opportunity.

“Maybe we need help. Last year we needed the help of the top teams just to get a podium. Maybe this year if there is that help or dropouts ahead of us, or problems, maybe it’s more than a podium. Hope that.


When Alonso announced last August that he would be leaving Alpine for Aston Martin, a team then sitting ninth in the championship, many questioned his decision.

Since then, we’ve heard plenty from Alonso about his belief in the vision of Aston Martin and its owner, Lawrence Stroll, who has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in building F1’s next great team. But it wasn’t until we saw the Aston Martin car on track this week that we really understood how far the team had come over the winter.

An aggressive redesign of the car, following the concept used by the title-winning Red Bull team last year, has made Aston Martin a team to watch in testing. The hype only grew when Alonso led practice on Friday before finishing fifth in qualifying, which dampened expectations a bit.

But his racing performance, beating Mercedes and Ferrari cars on the track, and clearly loving every moment in the car indicates a driver excited about the prospects ahead.

How did Alsonso finish third in Bahrain?

It almost ended in tears for Alonso and Aston Martin on the first lap. Alonso didn’t make the most of the starts, slipping behind Hamilton – then felt a hit from behind as Stroll ran deep at Turn 4. Alonso thought it was Russell and only found out after the race that it was Stroll, who admitted it was “really lucky”, he only glanced at the back of Alonso’s car and the two could continue.

Alonso took the first stint behind the two Mercedes cars, but quickly put the pressure on Russell, who had a struggling Hamilton ahead of him. Alonso managed to take Russell just before entering the pits for the first time at the end of lap 14. The pair went side by side in turn 4, but Alonso was bold to get ahead of the high speed turn 5.

After the pit stop, Alonso passed Alfa Romeo driver Valtteri Bottas – who had taken the lead after pitting much earlier – before setting his sights on Hamilton and gradually closing the gap. After both drivers pitted, Alonso’s superior pace was clear as he first tried to overtake at Turn 4, only to back off. He plotted his move a few corners ahead, simulating to the right as they crossed Turn 9 before diving on the inside at Turn 10 – a turn few drivers use for overtaking.

“It was more of a surprise there because nobody overtakes in Turn 10,” Alonso said. It was a bold move that won plaudits from the media center.

With Charles Leclerc out of the race due to engine failure, Alonso was now fourth and closing in fast on Sainz’s second Ferrari, which was struggling with tire degradation. He considered another move at Turn 10 but decided to bide his time and use DRS on the corner exit before going on the inside at Turn 11. Sainz had no chance of holding off the Aston Martin , while Alonso reacted on the radio: “Yes! Bye Bye!”

The closing laps allowed Alonso to take it easy, taking time to comment on how fun the car was to drive and ensuring he drove the car home to record a remarkable third place finish for Aston Martin. The team did not finish a race higher than sixth last year.

“It’s too good to be true,” Alonso said. “You are always expecting something, you will take a step back and come back to reality. But it feels real, the performance.

The result means Alonso is on 99 F1 podiums. But it will be victory No. 33 – the “mission” his fans have coined for this year on social media – that is next for him and Aston Martin.

Required reading

For more on the Bahrain Grand Prix, read AthleticismThe live blog here.

(Photo: Clive Mason/Getty Images)

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