Fernando Alonso’s charm offensive not just limited to Lance Stroll

Fernando Alonso scored his 99th podium in F1 on his Aston Martin debut.

At the ages of 38 and 41 respectively, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso are both veterans of Formula 1, with nine world championship titles between them.

While Hamilton is on the hunt for a record breaking eighth title this year, it is Alonso who has got off to the better start in 2023, scoring a podium at the season opener in Bahrain.

It was not plain sailing for the Spaniard however, as he has to pass Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari and the Mercedes of both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell on the way to his podium.

Alonso’s battle with Hamilton rolled back the years, with the duo battling for fifth place all the way from the start line until Turn 10, where the Spaniard made a spectacular move down the inside of Hamilton.

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Through sector one it looked like Hamilton may be able to hold off the advancing Aston Martin, with a number of intelligent switchbacks and manoeuvres keeping the green car behind him.

Nobody was expecting Alonso to make a move down the inside of the tricky Turn 10 and maybe this was eventually what caught Hamilton out as he lost the position to his old rival.

Alonso has praised Hamilton after this battle, claiming that battles with the Brit are always different.

“It was great, a lot of respect between us,” he said.

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“It’s never the same when you fight against Lewis, one of the legends of our sport and you know that he can do something unexpected and use his talent.”

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This is certainly a more glowing review of Hamilton’s racecraft that the one Alonso gave over his team radio last year at Spa, when the 41-year-old claimed that Hamilton only knows how to start from the front and drive fast following a lap one collision.

Mercedes were not expecting to challenge Ferrari and Red Bull right from the start of 2023 but they will be bitterly disappointed to see Aston Martin leapfrog them into third place.

With Mercedes set to change their development path in the coming months, the Silver Arrows will hope to become competitive sooner rather than later.