Alonso fires warning at Verstappen for first lap of Canadian GP

Fernando Alonso will start the Canadian Grand Prix in second after a tremendous display on Saturday.

Fernando Alonso plans to get after Max Verstappen on Sunday in Canada after a sensational lap that put him up to second for the start of the Canadian Grand Prix.

It marked the first time the Spaniard qualified on the front row since the 2013 Singapore Grand Prix and, quintessential of Alonso, he mastered the wet conditions to get there.

In the end, the Red Bull of Max Verstappen was too far ahead on lap time for the Alpine driver to take pole position but, in a car that has rarely shown podium performance so far in 2022, Alonso showed his supreme talent.

“It feels great,” he said after qualifying.

“I mean, it was an unbelievable weekend so far for us. We’ve been competitive from free practice which normally we are on Friday, but then on Saturday we seem to lose a little bit of pace.

“Thanks to the wet conditions today, the car was mega.

“I was so comfortable with driving this car and I think the fans also pushed me to make an extra push.”

As for his plan for the race, the double world champion intends to clear Verstappen off the line.

“Let’s see, I think I will attack Max on the first corner,” stated Alonso.

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Alonso’s qualifying result came after Charles Leclerc’s grid penalty that will see him start the race 19th, as well as a crash for Red Bull’s Sergio Perez.

READ: Leclerc unhappy with the FIA for forcing Ferrari to ‘bin their work’ because of Mercedes

With a dry race anticipated on Sunday, the 40-year-old believes a top-five finish is more realistic than a podium.

“I’m not sure, let’s see tomorrow,” added Alonso.

“Our natural position is always behind the top four, it doesn’t matter where they start or if they have a puncture on lap one or whatever, they still manage to finish in front of everybody.

“So, I expect to aim for top five, but that’s taking into the account that we can beat the Mercedes and other very fast cars around, so I think it’s still a long race to go and difficult to execute with the tyre management.

“[There is] not much information in dry conditions, so I’m confident but we cannot dream to big I think.”

Alonso stood on the podium in Qatar last year in his first year back having taken a two-year hiatus from Formula 1