Written by Juan Arroyo
Fernando Alonso secured a sensational third-place finish in the opening round of the Formula 1 season with Aston Martin at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
The Red Bulls driven by Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez took the top two positions respectively, while Ferrari suffered a major setback with Charles Leclerc's engine failure.
Starting in fitfth place on the grid, Alonso showed his tenacity and skill as he battled throughout the race with Mercedes' George Russell. With Leclerc out of the race on lap 41, the Spaniard was able to close in on the podium positions and eventually overtake his countryman Carlos Sainz in the final stretch of the race.
The podium finish marks Alonso's first since the Qatar Grand Prix in 2021 and will no doubt serve as a major confidence boost for the Aston Martin driver. It is a testament to Alonso's decision to switch to Aston Martin after returning to Formula 1 with Alpine in 2021.
Speaking after the race, Alonso expressed his delight at the result, saying “[It’s] amazing for the team. It was a great weekend. Finishing on the podium in the first race of the year. It is just amazing what Aston Martin did over the winter to have the second-best car on race one. This is just unreal.”
Alonso's teammate Lance Stroll also put in a solid performance, finishing in sixth place. The Spaniard also gave his compliments to Stroll in post-race interviews: “First of all, I think congrats to Lance, my team-mate," he said. "He had the surgery 12 days ago and now he's fighting right with everybody.”
The result bodes well for the rest of the season for Aston Martin, who find themselves second place in the constructors' championship following the opening race.
Overall, the Bahrain Grand Prix proved to be a strong platform for Alonso and Aston Martin to make a strong statement of intent for the rest of the campaign.