Team notes: Alonso salvages Aston Martin’s weekend with two points

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After a difficult weekend, Aston Martin left Florida with two points in their bag courtesy of Fernando Alonso's ninth-placed finish. The Silverstone-based outfit's Canadian driver Lance Stroll began the Miami Grand Prix in P11, but a penalty meant that he finished down in P17.

Similar to Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso opted to start on the hard tyre, losing places at the start but soon climbing back through the field. The two-time champion had a bit of an off-weekend as he struggled for pace, and his team-mate Lance Stroll looked quicker over a single flying lap.

Alonso’s race was aided by a virtual safety car period. While it was a very short interruption, he found himself near the pit entry which lured him to take a “cheap” pit stop. The Spaniard then had several on-track battles, and finished in P9 to add two points to his tally.

Expanding on his issues in Miami, Alonso said: “After a difficult day yesterday, it was good to come away from this weekend with some points for the team. We got a bit lucky with the timing of the Virtual Safety Car and then the full Safety Car bunching the field up. We then took this opportunity to fit the Medium tyres. This changed our strategy a little bit and allowed us to have some good battles out there.

“I enjoyed the racing and it seems we showed a little more performance in the race than we did in Qualifying. We do have some work to do to improve our performance in the next couple of races. I am happy for Lando [Norris]. It's always special to secure your first win.”

Lance Stroll has shown flashes of impressive qualifying speed over the weekend, but he was unable to capitalize on that performance in the end. The Canadian’s race was handicapped by an early stop, as some of his direct rivals opted against an early tyre service and pitted during the safety car interruption instead.

“It wasn't a great race today,” started Stroll. “We went for an early stop and then a few laps later the Safety Car was called, so the cars that had stayed out benefitted heavily from that. That really compromised our strategy.

“From that point I managed to pass a few cars and crossed the finish line in P13, but was then penalised for my pass on [Alex] Albon. We'll go through the onboards later, but it feels like a strange penalty. We'll be working hard over the next couple of weeks to find some more pace in the car for Imola.”

Explaining his drivers’ issues, Aston Martin team boss Mike Krack said: “Two hard-earned points from a race that was dominated by track position and traffic. Our starting positions hurt us today. Fernando's race was a straightforward one-stopper and the timing of the Virtual Safety Car proved helpful as he was suffering with some flat spots on his Hard tyres.

“He eventually was able to progress to P9. With Lance, we maybe pitted a bit on the early side, trying to undercut Tsunoda, and we never really recovered from the track position we lost. We will learn the lessons ahead of the start of the European season."