The Debrief by Aramco: Bahrain GP
A second F1 podium for the team and Fernando's first for AMF1 on a magical debut, Lance's valiant fight to secure sixth place, and the team's highest-scoring Grand Prix weekend. Fernando, Lance and Team Principal Mike Krack reflect on a night to remember in Bahrain.
An unforgettable race under the lights...
Fernando battling up the order, pulling off stunning moves in the race to finish in third place on his AMF1 debut.
Lance, still recovering from injuries sustained in a cycling accident just two weeks ago, fighting valiantly to secure a sixth-place finish in the season opener.
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Together with Team Principal Mike Krack, Fernando and Lance give their debrief on a scintillating start to the 2023 Formula One season.
"This is an incredible result from the entire team and we must enjoy this moment. I am very proud of the job everybody has done. We did not have the best start, but the race pace was strong." Fernando took the 99th podium of his illustrious F1 career, and his ceaseless combativity thrilled fans as he battled his way to third place.
"It was a fun race and I am super pleased to score good points tonight. It was not the most comfortable race for me, because of the injuries I have been dealing with, but to finish sixth has made it worth enduring all that pain." Lance had to push through the pain during the Grand Prix, and put in a determined drive to secure sixth place.
"Today’s fantastic result is the culmination of the hard work over many months from the team. To bring home a podium and sixth place in the first race of the season is a wonderful achievement and the team should be extremely proud." Mike reflects on a successful first race of the new campaign.
"The car has been very predictable from day one [of testing] and I have felt very comfortable throughout the whole weekend. I really enjoyed the race and, even after the chequered flag, I felt like I could have driven for another hour!" The AMR23 performed well at Bahrain International Circuit, with Fernando able to extract plenty of performance from our new challenger throughout the opening race weekend.
"This is an amazing result for the team and the best way to start the season. Well done to everybody at Silverstone and here at the track." The Canadian has equalled his best result with AMF1 as he begins his third season in green.
"Both Fernando and Lance raced well, showing the race pace we knew was possible and making well-judged overtaking moves when it mattered. Fernando has been buzzing all weekend and that energy has transferred throughout the team. "As for Lance, just to be competing has been a heroic effort, and to see him finish sixth, after a great pass on Russell, is a superb effort. It is a massively impressive performance having missed all of winter testing." Mike was impressed with the dogged determination shown in the performances of both Fernando and Lance throughout the weekend.
"We had some great fights out there today, especially with Carlos Sainz and Lewis Hamilton. Lewis is a legend of the sport and it was great to have so much respect between us out there." Fernando put in some brilliant moves to work his way to the podium, including diving down the inside of Hamilton’s Mercedes at Turn 10 – a notoriously difficult place to pass.
"Fernando put in a great drive to take a podium first time out and has really shown the potential of this car. It feels great to be battling with Mercedes." Lance battled for much of the race with George Russell and passed the Mercedes driver shortly after the second round of pitstops.
"It was also an incredible effort from Lance, who was a hero today for driving so well so soon after his injury to pick up some great points. You can feel the energy in the team: everybody is working flat out at the moment and we are all very motivated." Fernando paid tribute to his new team-mate and team, in his first race in green.
"This is a great way to start the season and I want to say a big thank you to everyone in the team, to our partners, and fantastic fans. But this is only race one and there is a long season ahead of us." Mike pays tribute to everybody supporting the team on its ambitious journey.
"This weekend feels like a dream, but we must stay realistic because this is just one track and the first race. Jeddah is a very different kind of circuit; a very different challenge. I cannot wait to get back in the car." Final thoughts from Fernando, who already has an eye on the next race in Saudi Arabia.
"Even with the adrenaline, the pain was the biggest limiting factor in the second half of the race. I must thank everyone who has helped me be in the best shape possible for today. I will now use the coming days ahead of Jeddah to work on recovery." Lance now has two weeks to continue his recovery before the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
"We will keep our feet on the ground, keep working hard, and look to build on this strong performance next time out in Saudi Arabia." The final words from Mike, who looks ahead to the fast street circuit at Jeddah.
#14 | Fernando Alonso | Practice and Qualifying
#18 | Lance Stroll | Practice and Qualifying
"The whole weekend has been very good for us so far and we are very happy to be starting inside the top five for the first race tomorrow. Last year the team found itself out of Q1 and now we are lining up fifth on the grid. Everyone in the team has done an amazing job and this is a strong baseline to build upon as we start the season." Fernando reflects on his first qualifying session with AMF1 and the significant step forward made by the team, having not finished any of the day's sessions outsides of the top six.
"I am really happy with today's result. It shows the progress we have made as a team over the winter and that our hard work is paying off. From eighth we can race well and hopefully bring home some points tomorrow." Lance on the incredible effort from the team over the winter and setting his sights on points in Sunday's Grand Prix.
"To get both cars through to Q3 in fifth and eighth is an excellent outcome from the first qualifying session of the year. I must say a big well done to the whole team – back at base and here at the track – for their constant hard work to get us to this point." Late nights and early starts. Team Principal Mike Krack pays testament to the months of effort and dedication from everyone in the team, both at the track and at Silverstone.
"I have spent the practice sessions doing my best to learn about the car, get up to speed, and find a rhythm as we built up to qualifying." Lance added 16 laps to his tally in FP3, and continued to pick up speed as qualifying progressed.
"The goal has been to take a step forward and our performance across today indicates we have done just that. We can race well from those grid positions and target scoring points with both cars." Saturday's result was the team's first double Q3 appearance since 2021.
"We shall see what tomorrow brings, but we have been competitive in all the sessions and we are starting close to the podium positions. If there is an opportunity there for the taking, then we will look to capitalise on it." Seizing the opportunity. From fifth on the grid, Fernando is looking to pounce and move up the order should the chance arise.
"I am really pleased with the performance I put in today and feeling grateful to be here just two weeks after my accident. I cannot wait to go racing tomorrow." After missing testing, Lance put in a spirited performance to ensure both AMF1 cars qualified in the top eight – our best team qualifying result since beginning our ambitious journey in 2021.
"Huge credit to Lance for his performance today, especially given his situation, and having missed all of winter testing. His determination to get back in the car has been very impressive and he has done a super job to qualify in eighth. Fernando, too, delivered a strong performance tonight, with clean and tidy laps to take fifth, building on the speed we have shown during practice. Tomorrow is what really counts, though, and we will work hard to convert these positions into points." No mean feat. Mike is keen to underline Lance's courageous performance in qualifying and is targeting points in tomorrow's race.
"It felt good to drive the car today and it is nice to see both cars high up on the timing sheets, especially after only three days of Testing. The team is working together well, and we are still learning a lot about the new car." Fernando reflects on a strong start to the season-opener which saw him record the fastest time of the day. His lap of 1m30.907s was set on the Soft compound tyres.
"It was so great to be back in the car today and get my first proper laps of 2023 in. It has only been 13 days since my accident and at that point I was not sure I would be back in an F1 car so soon, so be here with the team is amazing." Fighting spirit. Lance returned to the cockpit on the back of a determined recovery from a pre-season injury less than two weeks ago.
"We lost a little bit of time in FP1 with an ignition issue, but once that was fixed we ran well and collected some important data to work through tonight." Despite losing track time in FP1, Lance still managed to record 45 laps across the two sessions.
"There are a few things we need to evaluate overnight and we will prepare as best we can for the first qualifying session of the season tomorrow. We have our feet on the ground, and we are realistic with our expectations heading into tomorrow." There is still more work to do to extract the most out of the AMR23 this weekend.
"I think it will not be clear who is on top until after this weekend and probably into the first couple of races at different tracks. For now, we are just concentrating on ourselves and trying to find the right balance with the car." With different teams running to different plans, and the unique characteristics of the Bahrain International Circuit, Fernando believes there are few conclusions to draw from today's running.
"It is clear that the team have made some really good progress over the winter break; the car was feeling great to drive and I am excited to get back behind the wheel tomorrow." Evaluating the day as a whole, Lance is happy with how the AMR23 is performing and looks ahead to Qualifying on Saturday.
"There's a lot under the skin that you can't see" – top team quotes from launchRead Now
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