Damon Hill demands F1 rule change as Fernando Alonso dubbed ‘genius’

Aston Martin reveals its 2023 Grand Prix challenger

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Damon Hill has called for F1 bosses to start Fernando Alonso “from the back” of the grid after praising his driving abilities. The 1996 world champion suggested Alonso’s podium finish was as good as winning the Grand Prix.

He also branded Alonso a “racing genius” after being wowed by his overtakes in Bahrain. Hill posted on Twitter: “This guy won the Bahrain GP. They should make him start from the back every time just to see how far up he can get. It’s entertainment all the way. Skill, determination… He’s a kind of racing genius.”

Aston Martin were the surprise package at the season-opening race having taken a massive step forward from last season. The British manufacturer appeared faster than Red Bull in practice but the reigning champions went a notch ahead after they turned up their performance in qualifying.

After the session on Saturday, Hill said: “OK who had money on @alo_oficial in @AstonMartinF1 out qualifying BOTH @MercedesAMGF1’s? Not me. Stupid man.” On Friday, the Sky Sports F1 pundit also wrote: “That is a bit of a bombshell. Congratulations to @AstonMartinF1.”

Alonso started P5 for Sunday’s race and dropped down at the start after contact with team-mate Lance Stroll. However, the Spaniard battled his way past the two Mercedes to work his way back into contention.

He then benefitted from Charles Leclerc retirement and a late pass on Carlos Sainz to claim his first podium since the 2021 Qatar Grand Prix. The result is only Alonso’s second top-three finish since the 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix.

Alonso praised his Aston Martin team for putting together the new machine as he celebrated his podium.

Stroll avoids Alonso wrath after Aston Martin intervened in Bahrain [INSIGHT]
Fernando Alonso has Lewis Hamilton wish after Bahrain podium [ANALYSIS]
Lance Stroll ‘couldn’t move hands or walk’ after scary crash [COMMENT]

The double world champion also stressed Aston Martin could have the race pace to consistently challenge at the front if they could improve their pace in qualifying. After the chequered flag, he explained: “What Aston Martin did over the winter to have the second-best car on race one is just unreal.

“Obviously, I would love to start in front of [Ferrari and Mercedes] and then use the pace. But we had not the best start today and we had to pass on track. So, it felt more exciting and more adrenaline for sure. So if people enjoy, we did enjoy as well so let’s go to Jeddah.”

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