Max Verstappen believes Fernando Alonso can end his decade-long wait for a Formula One win this season after an encouraging start for Aston Martin.
The Spaniard finished third in his first race for his new team at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix last Sunday, which Verstappen won ahead of his Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez.
Alonso signed a multi-year deal to replace Sebastian Vettel at Aston Martin, making the move from Alpine.
The 41-year-old, who took a two-year sabbatical from F1 before returning in 2021, has not taken the top step of the podium since his victory at the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix on home soil.
But reigning champion Verstappen thinks Alonso can add to his tally of 32 wins this year.
Hello 2023! We are @AstonMartinF1 #NewEnergy #AstonMartin #f1 pic.twitter.com/oQJGHGKfJp— Fernando Alonso (@alo_oficial) March 6, 2023
The Dutchman said: "I hope so for Fernando as well because he has had a few years where there was not really a possibility to fight at the front, so I'm happy to see him sitting here already in race one.
"I think also again, I mentioned it before, but at Aston Martin, they really have the spirit and drive, they want to win and they've hired a lot of good people.
"So I guess it can only get better for them. And I think for this year, difficult to say if they're going to challenge for the championship, but race wins are definitely on the table.
"I've been in the same position where some races I'm finishing 20 to 40 seconds behind the winners and you still win two or three races a year because sometimes there are some tracks which really suit your car and everything just comes together and you can win a race with maybe sometimes a bit of help or luck.
"But for sure they have a really strong package. And now of course it's all about developing it further."