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Alonso expresses relief with McLaren's qualifying pace

  • Published on 24 Mar 2018 10:09
  • comments 6
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Fernando Alonso was happy with McLaren's pace in qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix, despite missing out on a Q3 spot. The double world champion is set tomorrow's race from eleventh on the grid (barring penalties), just ahead of teammate Stoffel Vandoorne.

McLaren compete this year with Renault engines, after dropping Honda at the end of last season. After a troublesome pre-season test, there were question marks over the reliability of the McLaren, and with many wondering where their pace lay.

With the papaya liveried team looking immensely close to Haas and Renault in the pecking order, Alonso was heard saying on the team radio following Q2 that the result was "good". Speaking after the session, the Spaniard stated that he was happy with the pace of the car.

"I'm very happy with how qualifying started," he said. "You are always curious to know where you stand and I think we have been pretty fast, especially in FP3 in wet conditions we were very close to the top all the time.

"Then in Q1 and Q2 we were always between seventh and 12th and as a starting point that's great because we'll have a lot of updates from now and the integration we need to do. We are the only ones who have to do that - so we have 'free' upgrades that are going to make us a lot more competitive and so it was a relief to reach qualifying and see that it's going to be a good year."

As Alonso exited qualifying after Q2, he will have a choice over what tyres he starts tomorrow's race on. However, he says that this weekend there are no major differences between starting on the hardest or softest available compound.

"With the tyres we know that you always use the softs to start because they are better to start, you have better performance on the opening lap and there'll be little degradation as all three tyres are very similar so there's not a lot to play with there.  We'll start 10th, I guess, because Bottas will be last, so I think it's a good starting point."

 

Fergal Walsh

Replies (6)

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  • They've done a good job. Its hard to tell whether they, Renault or Haas will be the best of the rest.

    • + 0
    • Mar 24 2018 - 12:30
  • Madmaz

    Posts: 14

    I wish I shared your enthusiasm but so far the reality is they haven’t improved over last year relative to the rest of the field. They were qualifying is similar positions towards the end of last year. Hopefully they improve quickly.

    • + 0
    • Mar 24 2018 - 13:34
    • Major Tom

      Posts: 152

      Whilst I tend to agree that their grid position aren't so different from the end of last season (when the engine didn't break). They are closer to the front three teams and possibly only behind Renault and Haas because they have made unusually big steps forward over the winter.

      • + 0
      • Mar 24 2018 - 14:04
    • I'd say they have improved compared to some of the rest of the field. I mean, take a look at the likes of Sauber, Williams and Force India. Especially FI, seeing as they have a great driver pairing, meaning the current performance is hands down due to the car. Its just that they dragged two other players with them up there. One Ferrari B-team with decent race pace and now minus their notorious brake issues that held them back, and one works team with the same engine and two very good drivers. But either way, this aint the front row they were hyping fans up for.

      • + 0
      • Mar 24 2018 - 16:11
    • You have to compare with Australia last year, not with the end of last year. The development race is only beginning. Both Renault and McLaren should leave Haas behind soon enough, due to a much bigger budget.

      • + 0
      • Mar 24 2018 - 16:17
    • That I dont completely agree with. While its good to compare starts of seasons for each team, we shouldnt dismiss comparisons between last year's endgame and this year's start. F1 is a continuous motion forward, remember.

      • + 0
      • Mar 24 2018 - 18:18

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