Max Verstappen predicts wins for Fernando Alonso & Aston Martin in 2023

Reigning F1 world champion Max Verstappen has praised Fernando Alonso and Aston Martin after the British team emerged as Red Bull’s closest challenger at the Bahrain GP.

Verstappen led home a Red Bull one-two to take the win at the 2023 season opener. Most dauntingly for the team’s rivals, he was 38 seconds clear of the nearest non-RBR car.

This was Fernando Alonso, who had an absolutely stellar weekend to come home in third.

Following the race, Verstappen welcomed the prospect of Alonso battling at the front in 2023.

Max Verstappen hopes Fernando Alonso can compete for wins

Speaking in the post-race press conference (via, the Red Bull star was asked if the Spaniard could challenge him this year.

“I hope so for Fernando. He has had a few years where there was not really a possibility to fight at the front,” said Verstappen. “So, I’m happy to see him sitting here already in race one. I mentioned it before, but at Aston Martin, they really have the spirit and drive. They want to win, and they’ve hired a lot of good people. So, I guess it can only get better for them.”

Despite his positive remarks, Max Verstappen stopped short of calling Fernando Alonso a title protagonist already.

“I think for this year, [its] difficult to say if they’re going to challenge for the championship,” added the Red Bull ace. “But race wins are definitely on the table. I’ve been in the same position where in some races I’m finishing 20 to 40 seconds behind the winners.

“You still win two-three races a year because sometimes there are tracks that really suit your car, and you can win with maybe sometimes a bit of luck. But for sure they have a really strong package. And now, of course, it’s all about developing it further.”

There are definitely some encouraging signs for Alonso on his new team.

A superb Aston Martin debut

Throughout the Bahrain GP weekend, the double world champion was going toe-to-toe with the Red Bulls. For example, he split Perez and Verstappen in FP1 before going fastest in FP2 and FP3.

Sadly, though, the Aston driver’s pace in practice did not fully translate to qualifying. Alonso did put his car fifth, however, ahead of both Mercedes.

The race then saw a fantastic recovery drive from the Spaniard. After making contact with his teammate, Lance Stroll, on the opening lap, Alonso fought back up to finish third.

His impressive overtakes on Lewis Hamilton and Carlos Sainz also provided some of the best entertainment of the weekend. And, most importantly, it proved that Aston Martin have the race pace to fight for podiums.

This will definitely have some alarm bells ringing at Ferrari and Mercedes. In the Silver Arrows’ case, they are already considering major tweaks to their W14.

But this is just the first race of a long season. The upcoming Saudi Arabian Grand Prix – a high-speed, lower-downforce track – will provide a different test to see just how close Aston Martin are to the top three teams.

Additionally, Jeddah will be another chance to see if anyone can get near the imperious Red Bulls. Even Alonso’s best efforts saw him finish 25+ seconds behind Sergio Perez. If Verstappen and co. streak away at the next round, it could spell worrying times for Mercedes and Ferrari.

Featured image credit: Getty