Fernando Alonso has said that the Miami Grand Prix’s „slowest Drivers’ Parade ever“ helped him mastermind a first-lap overtake of three cars in one swoop.
Alonso, now aged 40, started the inaugural race at the Miami International Autodrome outside the top 10, but left the first corner side-by-side with Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes in a fight for seventh.
Having already gained a place due to Lance Stroll’s pit lane start, the Alpine driver went off the racing line and committed to a risky lunge around the outside of several drivers at Turn 1 – on a track lacking grip all weekend.
But thanks to Miami’s elaborate Drivers’ Parade, Alonso stormed into the corner full of confidence that he would be able to make the multi-car overtake work.
Turn 1 move took Alonso from P11 to P7
During the parade, which saw each driver chauffeured individually on a lap of the new Miami track, Alonso was left waiting at Turn 1 and seized an opportunity to inspect the tarmac.
„It was the slowest Drivers’ Parade ever and, thanks to that, we stopped outside of Turn 1,“ explained Alonso, speaking to select members of the media, including RacingNews365.com.
„I was looking at that outside of Turn 1 for 20 seconds and I felt that it looked very grippy. There were no marbles, no stones, nothing. It was very clean.“
It was then that Alonso planned his route through the first corner, one that took him past Lando Norris, Yuki Tsunoda and Hamilton.
„They were all braking very carefully on the inside and I made a lot of places,“ he said with a smile.
Alonso: It’s my reflexes, I’m still young
It is not the first time that Alonso has made serious ground during Lap 1 of a race since his F1 return.
The Spaniard used the run-off area, and navigated a chicane of cones, to evade danger at Turn 1 of last year’s Russian Grand Prix – a move he practiced during that weekend’s practice sessions.
And despite now being into the final years of his racing career, Alonso says he still has what it takes to fight the youngsters.
He added, cheekily: „It’s my reflexes. When you are young, your reflexes are sharp and you’re very focused.“
Viewed by others:
Miami track can be improved for 2023, reckons Alonso
Ultimately, Alonso ended the day outside the points and was forced to accept a penalty and apologise to Pierre Gasly for an incident that sent the AlphaTauri driver into retirement.
F1 will race in Miami until 2032, with the race organisers making clear that they are willing to make changes to the track should it improve the spectacle.
Alonso admitted the race offered more excitement than he had anticipated, but does feel the track needs work to ensure the 2023 Miami Grand Prix is better.
„I think it was a better race than what we thought [it would be] on Friday. We were more concerned about going off the line, but it was not too bad in the race,“ he said.
„I don’t think overtaking was as good as expected, so we need to look at that.
„I think the section between Turn 11 and Turn 16 is still too slow for these cars, so if they can do something there to make it a little bit more of a flowing corner and [add] more speed, I think it will be beneficial for next year.“