Alonso starts on front row in Miami but win a long shot

Miami, May 7 (BNA): Team principal Mike Crack believes Fernando Alonso will start the Miami Grand Prix on the front row alongside pole sitter Sergio Perez, giving Aston Martin a chance at victory.

Alonso, however, doesn’t see quite the same chance and expects to have a supercharged Red Bull of Max Verstappen fill his mirrors at the halfway point of the 57-lap race on the 3.36-mile (5.41-kilometre) makeshift street circuit around Hard Rock. The stadium, home of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins.

Reuters reports that the Red Bulls of Verstappen and Perez have been in a league of their own this season and have won every grand prix, with three of four races finishing one-two.

While the Aston Martins have also shown plenty of speed, Alonso’s front-row appearance has to do with a bit of good luck for the Spaniard combined with bad luck for Verstappen.

The Dutchman, who dominated practice in Miami, looked almost certain to take pole position but was unable to complete his last lap after Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc crashed with 1 minute and 36 seconds left in qualifying.

“The opportunity is there if you start on the front row,” Krack confirmed after Saturday’s qualifiers. “If you start on the front row, your goal should be to win the race.

“We have strong rivals who didn’t have everything together today except for Sergio but we will try to do our best.”

Verstappen, last year’s winner in Miami, will start ninth but Alonso predicted he’d see it in his exhaust on lap 25.

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With a slim six-point lead over Perez in the drivers’ standings, Verstappen was clear he would be on from the lights on Sunday.

Asked what result he was expecting, the double world champion set the target, “The minimum is P2.”

Alonso’s teammate Lance Stroll will also have to return if he is going to fight for the podium.

The Canadian failed to exit the first stage of qualifying in only 18th place after the team bet on running on one set of soft tires in an attempt to save a set for the second session.

“We were discussing with Lance and we should have just called him and there was no need to take that much of a risk that we did,” Krack said. “We wanted to have both cars in the third quarter and there was no need to take that risk.

“As a team, you have some statistics to gauge what the cut is going to be, and at those things we weren’t good enough.

“I think maybe we were a little greedy but we have to take our lesson from it and do better next time.”


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