Alonso 'laughing' at Bahrain GP podium chance on 'unreal' weekend

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Fernando Alonso was left "laughing" at the possibility of a podium on an "unreal" weekend at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Spaniard went fastest in both Practice 2 and 3, raising expectations of a potential shock pole position in his debut qualifying session for Aston Martin.

However, the pace was never really there as Red Bull and Ferrari revealed their true potential, but Alonso did lead both Mercedes' in fifth.

“That was too optimistic,” he told Sky Sports of a possible pole. "In practice, we knew that we were around third or fifth or fourth.

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"It was amazing. The whole weekend has been unreal for us. It was like too good to be true in every session and every performance of the car.

"And then in qualifying, our expectation was to be around half a second from Red Bull, so it was quite right."

On race day, Alonso's potential could be even higher as questions over Ferrari's tyre wear make a podium a realistic prospect.

"Let's see, yes," the double world champion said. "I'm laughing because going for a podium in race one... it feels too good to be true.

"But for sure, what we saw so far on our car, and also historically Aston Martin has a very good tyre management. So yeah, if we have an opportunity for sure, we will take it."

Aston Martin's massive progress has been the big story of F1 2023 so far, with even Alonso feeling shocked at just how competitive the team is.

"Again, it feels so strange for me to say that we start P5 and maybe we are aiming for more," he added.

"Because we thought to be honest that the first three teams were untouchable this year with the advantage they had last year, and maybe we try to lead the midfield mix.

"But now we're saying that we start P5 and maybe we fight with the Ferraris for the podium, so this is just incredible.

"So yeah, let's keep working, keep our feet in the ground and execute the race the best way possible.

"No mistakes. Good start, good stops, and let's see where we are. But so far, we are living our dream."