Alonso says 13th is a “big surprise” for McLaren

2017 Chinese Grand Prix

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Fernando Alonso said McLaren were surprised to qualify as high as they did after struggling in practice at Shanghai.

At the end of final practice Alonso and team mate Stoffel Vandoorne were 17th and 19th in their Honda-powered cars.

Alonso said he “pushed the maximum” in qualifying in order to reach Q2.

Chinese GP qualifying in pictures
“Obviously we felt very uncompetitive in FP3,” he admitted. “So we went into Q1 with some pessimism in the targets.”

“And I did the lap flat-out in some corners, not caring too much about risking over the limit. Everything went well, I crossed the line and said ‘wow, this lap is good, we are P10’. And that should be enough to be in Q2.”

“Then P13 in Q2 I think is a big surprise for us with the expectations we had before qualifying so now we need to capitalise tomorrow this position and hopefully bring some points.”

He welcomed the chance of rain in tomorrow’s race, saying “in normal conditions it’s unlikely that we can get some points.”

“A chaotic race will help us. We’ve raced a couple of times here in the wet so we should use that experience to take any opportunity.”

Alonso had a minor battery problem in Q1 and was late getting out of the garage in Q2 when his engine refused to fire up. Vandoorne had a similar problem in Q1 which he said compromised his qualifying effort.

“After practice this morning I felt quite comfortable in the car, but unfortunately it took a bit longer than expected to get out onto the track for Q1, so we had a bit of a delay and had to rush through our programme,” he said.

“I’m a bit disappointed as I felt the chance was definitely there to get into Q2.”

2017 Chinese Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    31 comments on “Alonso says 13th is a “big surprise” for McLaren”

    1. “It was the best qualifying, probably the best of my career, obviously I will do a better one next week.”

      Like an animal.

    2. Well done Stroll today, but imagine Alonso in that Williams.

      1. Ouch, so right. I imagine he would’ve at least been 5th.

        1. I mean that overtly, not having a pop at Stroll, he’s done well and may well score tomorrow, It’s just Alonso looks hungrier than ever!

        2. I reckon he’d do Kimi tbh

        3. @addvariety, let’s be honest though – given the performance gap between Ferrari and Mercedes and the rest of the grid, 5th is the best that any other driver really could hope for today. Even then, the gap between Ricciardo and Massa was fairly large – about 0.5s – in Q3, so at best he might have been where Massa is now.

          1. Probably true… I was more thinking Race, im not even an Alonso fan btw 😉

    3. Cause Alonso is the best driver. A legend

    4. It says something about his qualities and talent that he “didn’t care” about going over the limit and just went flat out in some corners. Currently I believe there are probably only a couple of drivers that are really in control of their 2017 car: Hamilton, Ricciardo, Verstappen, Hulkenberg, Vettel, Perez and Alonso of course. Vandoorne disappoints me, although he hasn’t made any major mistakes, he just doesn’t quite match even Button’s pace and car control.

      1. If he had went over the limit he would have been on a wall

      2. You are making a judgement on Vandoorne’s performance in less than two races. This is his rookie season, and both in Australia and hear has had limited running while also being completely new to the track (experience I would have thought counts for a lot when practice sessions are lost of which Vandoorne has near to none through no fault of his own). Furthermore, people should not immediately compare him to one of the best drivers of all time (Alonso) or even Button for that matter as from my understanding it Button some time to get to a championship driver level (even so, Vandoorne beat Button in Bahrain last year).

        I am not saying he is a guaranteed superstar but at least give the man a chance before being disappointed.

        1. @khanistanf1 He’s a Verstappen fan so he’s obliged to take a stab at Vandoorne when possible. If anything Vandoorne is doing great, he’s driving a much older car than Vandoorne and with this amount of experience on these tracks and with the car he’s doing very good against as you say one of the best ever.

    5. I understand the man totally, frustrated for many years now, since his Ferrari time. And he is a great driver.

      But haven’t you guys had quite enough of him always pointing out how good he was, sometimes (not this time!) in detriment to other driver’s performances?
      I have had enough of that. We know you are good. Give us the chance to say it. You saying it almost every race weekend is starting to feel old.

      1. I read it simply as having a dig at McLaren / Honda for providing inadequete equipment.

        ‘For sure, that was my best race ever but I’m still a finish 12th’ etc etc.

        it’s kinda funny really.

      2. Fernando is braggadocio master ;)

      3. Great driver who’s made poor career decisions. If he’d got himself in the right cars, like someone like Hamilton who seems to make good choices, changing from McLaren to Mercedes at the perfect time, he could’ve had an even more successful career that he deserves. If he made better choices, I reckon he could be a 5 time WDC, at least.

        1. Easily 5. Unfortunately someone has to make the bad decisions. Both Brawn GP and Red Bull wanted him but he was blinded by Ferrari.

      4. I think he is emotionally at an all-time low this year – once again he knows he won’t have a chance to prove he can beat or even compete the best.
        I’ll cut him slack for that and the fact he has behaved admirably at McHonda, contrary to his detractors opinions.

      5. It’s a motivation technique. Alonso pays a personal mental coach very good money.
        If you think it isn’t working, then why don’t you apply for the job?

        These drivers are PR trained and mentally coached day by day. We have no idea what they truly think and feel in their private time.

        1. Choose and maintain a positive attitude
          Maintain a high level of self-motivation
          Use positive self-talk
          Use positive mental imagery

    6. Tarso Marquez
      8th April 2017, 17:29

      Alonso always praising himself, this is getting old, he claims to be the best driver, but a rookie Hamilton beat him in equal conditions, he beated a deminished post-accident Massa, Button showed him the way in 2015, he also thinks of himself as a car developer, but as we see he fails to understand how a f1 car works and how to improve it.

      1. Uddipta jana
        9th April 2017, 3:29

        R u new in f1??

    7. Ferrari, Seb fan
      8th April 2017, 19:02

      Put him in the merc/ferrari. He would be a serious contender for the championship

    8. Gee, it’s almost as if McHonda didn’t get enough testing done in Barcelona to really understand where the limits are with these new cars and tires. /s

    9. Alonso had a minor battery problem in Q1 and was late getting out of the garage in Q2 when his engine refused to fire up.

      While watching Qualifying the commentators said the McLaren car and was about 10 km/h less on the straight than the Mercedes car. Looking at the speed trap results for Qualifying, it does seem the McLaren car has a deficit of at least that amount where the speed measurement was taken.

    10. He says it in a way like he’s saying: “I am so good and I drove so well, that I managed to put this piece of sheet in 13th place”, haha. He brags about himself and criticizes his team at the same time, and in a very subtle way.

      1. So what did you want him to say?

        “I am ashamed of my performance today. To qualify 13th in a car with so much potential is embarrassing and I take full responsibility for it. Likewise for my sub par result in Australia. I let the team down.
        I apologize to McLaren and Honda – they have been very patient with me over the last 2 years. My worst nightmare would be to lose my seat in such a top flite organization.”

        1. You really can’t think of anything else he could’ve said, except the brag+criticize combination and your sarcasm? OK then.

    11. Alonso: “I pushed like and animal ” .

      I think Alonso has really improved he’s skills in the past few years and it’s a shame he’s not driving a more competitive car.

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