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Alonso believes he can finally win again after debut podium for Aston Martin · RaceFans

Aston Martin’s competitive start to the new Formula 1 season has given Fernando Alonso the belief he can score his first win for 10 years.

The two-times world champion hasn’t won a race since the Spanish Grand Prix in 2013. But after finishing third in yesterday’s season-opener, Alonso believes a victory is a realistic possibility this year.

“When you are P3 in race one there are 22 opportunities this season,” said Alonso after yesterday’s race. “Even last year, I remember in Canada, wet qualifying, we were in the first row of the grid.

“Anything can happen in 22 races with different conditions. I will try my best to have the opportunity.”

Red Bull dominated the opening round of the championship, Verstappen winning with a 38-second margin over Alonso. The Aston Martin driver admitted they may need the cards to fall in their favour to win a race given Red Bull’s speed.

“Maybe we need some help,” he said. “Last year, we needed some help from the top teams just to get the podium. Maybe this year, if there is this help or there is some retirements in front of us or some problems maybe it’s more than a podium. So let’s hope for that.”

Despite leading two practice sessions last weekend, Alonso admitted he had been hesitant to believe in the potential of Aston Martin’s car following his move to the team which finished seventh in last year’s world championship.

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“I have the same feeling from testing, like, it’s too good to be true,” he said. “You’re always expecting that something you will get a step back and you will get back to reality.

“But it seems real, the performance. Let’s see in Jeddah. I am curious to go to Jeddah and Australia. Very different circuits: high-speed corners, very little degradation.

“In Bahrain, we were strong in things that maybe we don’t find in Jeddah, and Australia. So, if we are strong in the next two races, I think we will have a very good 2023.”

However Alonso pointed out he could have finished closer to Verstappen had he not lost time behind Carlos Sainz Jnr, Lewis Hamilton, George Russell and Valtteri Bottas earlier in the race.

“Obviously we lost time in the first stint,” he said. “I just sat behind the Mercedes. In the middle stint I have to pass George and Valtteri. And then on the final stint I had to pass Lewis and Carlos.

“So all in all, I’m sure that you lose 10 or 15 seconds on all those battles. So if we are 40 seconds behind the leader, we could have been maybe 20 seconds, or 30 seconds. So not a real fight, yet, to Red Bull.”

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