Wily and canny as ever, Fernando Alonso managed to hold off a
much-faster Sergio Perez for the final place on the Sao Paulo Grand
Prix podium to lift some of the doom and gloom around Aston Martin.
The race before in Mexico City had been a terrible event for the
team as its United States upgrade package did not lead to the
expected improvements and led to an experimental weekend at the
Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. While the Sprint did not yield any
result, Aston did have prime starting slots for the Grand Prix,
with third and fourth on the grid as Lance Stroll started ahead of
Alonso on the second-row, with the latter capitalising to run third
after the final pit-stops, but having a pumped up Perez carving
chunks of time out of him in the much-faster Red Bull. Alonso then
drove different lines around the Interlagos track to ensure Perez
could not figure out where the AMR23 was strong and weak, while
maintaining both his energy and tyres – knowing full well that
driving it flat out at first to try and stay ahead of Perez would
harm him later on just when he needed the tyre life most. Perez
would attack in the final couple of laps, before Alonso in
something of a hybrid car, set Perez up beautifully for a move into
Turn 4 on the final lap. Come Turn 12 and Alonso went to the
slightly wider line and dumped everything he had to stay ahead of
Perez, who charged to within 0.053s, but it was the podium secured
for the Silverstone team. It capped a return to the podium for the
first time since the Dutch Grand Prix for the team, who can use
this as a building block, safe in the knowledge it has seemingly
managed to get some sort of grasp on the troubles that have
torpedoed its season. Krack explains Aston Martin ‘mix and match’
“We openly said that we needed to try some things for next year,
which is what we did in the past couple of races,” Team Principal
Mike Krack told media including RacingNews365. “When we came here,
we said: ‘What is the best package from what we have run this
year?’ and we made the choice from what we thought was the right
one. “It’s like a mix, because you have a range of parts that you
combine and I’ve said many times, that the cars are very
complicated and you really need to understand how different areas
of the car work, and how they interact with each other. “It is not
about the outside world, it is about ourselves. “We wanted to learn
as much as possible for next year, but obviously you then sacrifice
results, that often comes with it. “We do not want to have these
results, obviously, and we had a couple of events where it was
really difficult and we said: ‘Okay, what is the best we have and
how can we achieve it?’ “We’ve done our homework and managed to
come back.”

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