British journalist Andrew Benson praised Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso for not "humiliating" teammate Lance Stroll at the 2023 F1 Spanish GP.
The Spaniard extended his middle stint in order to take advantage of fresh tires late in the race. When he came out of the pits after his second stop, he was P10 in the race and started picking off one driver after the other.
Fernando Alonso made short work of Yuki Tsunoda, Guanyu Zhou, and Esteban Ocon only to find himself within touching distance of teammate Lance Stroll. Despite seemingly having the pace to pull off the overtake, the Spaniard opted to send the message to the team that he would not attack his Aston Martin teammate for the position.
Andrew Benson believes Alonso made the right decision by not overtaking Stroll, who finished P6 ahead of the Spaniard. He said in the post-race edition of the Chequered Flag podcast:
"Alonso came out from his final pitstop 10th, and he overtook [Yuki] Tsunoda, [Guanyu] Zhou, and [Esteban] Ocon. He was closing on Stroll, and if Stroll was in any other car, he would have gone past him to finish sixth. But he knows what side his bread is buttered! He came onto the radio and said ‘Just tell Lance there’s no threat, no risk. I’m not going to try and overtake him’."
“Smart guy. A sixth place, seventh place, Fernando Alonso couldn’t care less. He doesn’t need to overtake Lance Stroll to prove he is quicker than Lance Stroll this season. It would disrupt team harmony, it would have humiliated Stroll and Lawrence Stroll, the team owner, wouldn’t have been happy either. Much better just to bank the seventh place and move on to Canada and normal business will be resumed presumably…”
Fernando Alonso was surprised by Aston Martin's lack of pace in Spain, according to Marc Priestley
Former McLaren engineer Marc Priestley felt that the Aston Martin's lack of pace in the Spanish GP came as a surprise, even to Alonso. The 41-year-old driver finished on the podium in five of the first six races of the season, but could only manage a P7 finish in Barcelona.
"It was slightly disappointing, only because we know that that car has potential. I think even listening to Fernando talk after the race, he was a little bit surprised. Yes, he started further down the grid than he would have liked to have done and that does put you in all sorts of complicated problems with other cars around you."
Fernando Alonso and Aston Martin will be hoping for a return to form at the upcoming Canadian GP.