Alonso “dreams big” and eyes Singapore GP F1 podium from fifth

Fernando Alonso said he could “dream big” and target a Formula 1 podium after qualifying fifth for the Singapore GP.

Fernando Alonso, Alpine A522

The Spaniard admitted that the drying qualifying session had been stressful and joked that his risk-taking had not been good for his heart.

Crucially Alonso lines up ahead of the McLaren of Lando Norris, giving Alpine an edge in the ongoing battle for fourth in the World Championship.

The race marks Alonso's 350th race start, making him the first driver in F1 history to reach that landmark.

“I think if it's dry, it's going to be difficult to overtake,” he said. “So it will be nice to secure the top five and score more points than McLaren, which will be the main target again. If it's wet obviously, there are a lot of things that could happen.

“It could be very good race for us, or very bad, if you crash or whatever maybe it could be a DNF. So it's a lot of risk if it's wet tomorrow, but we are two positions away from the podium. So why not dream big tonight?"

Alonso had shown good form throughout qualifying, earning fifth on intermediates in Q2 as the track dried, before repeating that on slicks in the final session.

“It was stressful, no doubt, even borderline to be enjoyable, I think because the level of risk and stress was quite high,” he said when asked by Autosport about an eventful session.

“When we fitted the dry tyres in Q3 it was a brave move from everybody, because it was just a guess.

“Eventually it was the right decision, but to go every lap faster and faster than the lap before, going into the corner just hoping that the car will stay on track, and the track will be drier than one minute and a half ago when you went through that corner, is just a lot of stress. So hopefully tomorrow a little bit more calm a race."

Fernando Alonso, Alpine F1 Team

Fernando Alonso, Alpine F1 Team

Photo by: Carl Bingham / Motorsport Images

Asked if he enjoyed the risks he said: "No, because I'm not fighting for the world championship, so it cannot be good for my heart to take this level of risk for really not much reward! I do it always, even if I'm P20 I will take the same level of risk. But today was a little bit on top of any other qualifying of the year."

The performance was achieved with Alpine’s new floor, but while Alonso agreed that it worked as intended, he downplayed its actual contribution to lap time.

"It was a step forward with the data that we collected yesterday. So happy with the step. I think we need to wait for Suzuka to really feel the package a little bit more because here in Singapore every run there is a track evolution, you cannot read much the data, and also feeling-wise coming from Monza and going to Singapore it's very difficult to judge the car.

"I think we are more competitive thanks to the upgrade for sure, but maybe when we update the car maybe we update on tenth of a second. We are seven tenths clear of Norris behind, and five-tenths away from [Carlos] Sainz, so I could race with the Bahrain car and still be in the same position, probably."

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Alonso, who won the race in both 2008 and 2010, acknowledged that Singapore is a track that suits his style.

“There's a lot of corners going on here. We come from Monza, six corners around the lap to 23 corners, proper corners. So definitely you need to feel the car and you need to be clever with how you drive in the first part of the lap to keep the tyres for the second part, all these kind of things.

“You need to have confidence with the car, you have to build that confidence in practice. And yeah, for whatever reason it's true that Singapore I've been fast always all my life. This happens as well in Australia.

“There is no explanation, but Melbourne is always another track. I'm not that fast in Spa, so still things that I need to learn even after 22 years of F1. But there are some tendencies that are always the same."

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