Fernando Alonso is also good for a surprise at 41. One that his team boss Mike Krack probably didn't expect either. "If you start from the front row, you're not driving for second place," he said on Sky after qualifying for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
In the knockout elimination, Alonso missed his first pole since the 2012 race in Germany and finished third. Because second-placed Charles Leclerc had to drop ten positions with his Ferrari due to a penalty, Alonso will start from the front row next to pole setter Sergio Perez from Red Bull (6 p.m. CET / Sky).
Whether "Mundo deportivo", whether "Marca" or "As" - the online editions of the Spanish sports newspapers, but also "El País" celebrated the Asturian with cover stories - and that before the Clásico in the evening in the Spanish football championship between FC Barcelona and RealMadrid.
But what did Alonso say afterwards: It was not the goal to fight for victory with Perez. "I don't want to sound pessimistic. But we have to be honest."
Alonso: Aston Martin can't keep up with Red Bull
The Aston Martin, with which he had already finished third in Bahrain behind world champion Max Verstappen and his teammate Perez and had made it onto the podium for the 99th time in his career, could not keep up with the speed of the Red Bulls. Therefore, he also assumes that, in addition to Perez, Verstappen, who was 15th in qualifying due to a broken drive shaft, will also make it onto the podium. "At least," said Alonso, there is no doubt about that.
For him and his teammate Lance Stroll (grid 5) it's all about finishing in the top five. Alonso of all people, who has a samurai tattooed on his back and who has fought so many tough and spectacular duels on the track, wants to admit defeat before it starts? It remains difficult to imagine.
"In Formula 1 there must always be good and bad characters, heroes and anti-heroes. I belong to the dark side," he said in the Netflix documentary "Drive to Survive" and garnished his saying with a challenging grin.