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Alonso issues update on Aston Martin pace: It's good news!

With Fernando Alonso finishing third behind the two Red Bulls for the second race in a row, do Aston Martin now have F1's second-fastest car?

Fernando Alonso has hailed the 'good news' of Aston Martin's pace during Sunday's Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, in which the Spaniard finished third for the second race in succession. Starting from second on the grid, Alonso led the first two laps and finished the race five seconds ahead of fourth-placed George Russell. However, a mid-race Safety Car period had bunched the pack up, and Alonso said Aston Martin's true advantage over Mercedes and Ferrari at Jeddah was much larger. "For me, the most important thing was to feel the car so strong, because we were the second fastest [car]," Alonso told media, including RacingNews365.com . "We were well ahead of Ferrari, we were controlling the Mercedes. I opened seven or eight seconds to George [Russell] in the first stint, and five at the end that could have been ten. "We could open 15 or 20 seconds with Mercedes and more than half a minute with Ferrari, [which] was unthinkable on Thursday when we came here. "It's true that in Bahrain, we were degrading the tyres less than the others, and we took advantage of that. But here we had more pace than the others. It was not a tyre thing, so this is very good news."

Aston Martin 'closer' to Red Bull, says Alonso

Though Alonso had the measure of Mercedes and Ferrari, he could do nothing about the dominant Red Bulls, who finished 1-2 for the second race in a row, despite Max Verstappen starting from 15th after a driveshaft failure in qualifying. Acknowledging that Red Bull remain out of reach for Aston Martin, Alonso was nevertheless convinced that his team had managed to close the gap on the drinks-backed outfit. "A little bit closer," said Alonso, when asked how Aston Martin had measured up to Red Bull in Saudi Arabia relative to the season opener in Bahrain. "I think in Bahrain they were, if they had pushed, very far ahead, and here they were ahead, they were untouchable, for sure. But [Aston Martin are] a little bit closer, so that was good. "The start was good. We led the race, so we have the first picture of Aston Martin leading the Formula 1 field for two laps, and hopefully not the last one."

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