Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Circuit de Catalunya, 2017

Alonso: Seventh place start a ‘gift’

2017 Spanish Grand Prix

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Fernando Alonso says that securing a remarkable seventh place on the grid for his home grand prix in Barcelona is a ‘gift’ for him and McLaren.

After another disrupted start to the weekend with an early engine failure on Friday morning, Alonso produced a superb performance in qualifying to equal McLaren-Honda’s best grid position of the modern era.

“I think everything today went perfect,” says Alonso. “We did better than what we thought.”

“It was definitely a good qualifying for us and P7 is a gift. So we’ll see what we can do from here. It’s a nice change to be in Q3 and P7. I think yesterday we had the potential, but we had strange sessions – the failure in FP1 and very short running in FP2. Today, we put everything together.”

In contrast to the disappointment of Stoffel Vandoorne’s elimination from the first qualifying session, Alonso says that he’s feeling comfortable with the performance of his McLaren this weekend.

“I felt confident with the car,” says Alonso. “Conditions are quite tricky, quite windy. My car was always giving me the confidence to be able to push one hundred-percent.”

With a strong starting position, Alonso says he is looking to secure McLaren’s first points of the season in tomorrow’s Spanish Grand Prix.

“I think that this is a circuit that is difficult to overtake, so we’ll try to get a position.

“So happy for the team as well. They work so much – they change so many power units in these first races. To be seventh on the grid tomorrow, to be around the cars that we should be fighting the top positions will be a nice boost for all the guys.”

2017 Spanish Grand Prix

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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  • 37 comments on “Alonso: Seventh place start a ‘gift’”

    1. Honda Wow!!! Glad to see the improvement.

      1. Honda? I’m surprised to see you give credit to them for the team’s achievement. This is purely down to a good car with a superb driver. The engine is the only reason he’s not higher up the field than he currently is.

        They still lack a huge amount in engine power, and it is about time Honda speeds up its development now. 3 years, and still no competitive engine. Not only that, but no reliable engine either. McLaren will be lucky if we’ll get to see 1 of their cars reaching the finish tomorrow.

        1. “This is purely down to a good car”. How would we know? McLaren blocked other teams from using Honda engine, so we have no means of comparison. What we know is that Honda is still developing the engine and this week Mclaren-Honda car got up to Q3.

          I think that some people will praise the “Good Car” and bash Honda even if they start winning.

          1. Barcelona is an aero circuit thus any car that outperforms itself in Montmelo, Monaco or Hungaroring points to a good chassis and poor engine.

          2. The circuit has long straights and many medium-to-high speed corners, with average qualifying speed of 200 kph and max speeds reaching 330 kph. Engine is a huge factor there. That’s why Ferrari and Mercedes managed to hit the target to go five seconds quicker.

      2. Do we know the speed-trap figure, high speed and good place means a good engine but slower speed and good place points more to the chassis.

      3. Vandoorne and Alonso are last in the speedtrap data….

    2. What happened to Vandoorne? Another car issue? The guy is very talented that quali spread to Alonso has to be car related to some degree..

      1. Setting up a car is also(or alonso) a part of the game!

        1. Sorry, see below my reply is there… oops.

      2. Neil (@neilosjames)
        13th May 2017, 17:25

        I’m inclined to believe that Vandoorne isn’t ‘letting rip’ fully at this stage… Alonso is throwing absolutely everything into his driving, not caring if he taps a wall or goes off, but Vandoorne isn’t.

        It could be that he’s not got full confidence in the car yet, but his career to date suggests he learns very fast. So I’ll float the idea that maybe he’s been told by the team to make sure he gets every mile of running possible, and to be more conservative… while Alonso, who wouldn’t take kindly to being told that, goes out and canes the living daylights out his car at every opportunity.

        But obviously I also think there’s a real ability gap between the two. Probably around three tenths in Alonso’s favour, at this stage in their careers.

        1. Good points.. thanks!

    3. True.. but Van didn’t get to where he is by not getting a handle on setup, I know every race and quali so far he’s been plagued with car issues. I didn’t watch this quali this time.. so just trying to see if once again was an equipment let down.

      1. Vandoorne has been running the same engine whole weekend, McLaren might have decided to run conservative with him while unleashing full power for Alonso. We know that they tend to sacrifice pace for reliability this very difficult to judge from the outside.

        1. Thanks for the info!

      2. He was doing fine Friday but they dropped the ball with the set-up on Saturday.

        1. Yeah Friday things seemed on the up for Van.

    4. congrats.

    5. Given the level Alonso is currenty driving at, there is still a lot of time for him in the sport even if he would lose performance with age. I think he could easily do another 3 year contract if he wants to.

    6. Brilliant drive! McLaren must have the chassis nailed down as FA claims he felt comfortable running all out – Great job McLaren!
      Now the ball is in Honda’s hands. Today’s results won’t mean much if there is another engine problem tomorrow. I’m hoping Honda delivers, they are no doubt working 24/7 and could use a morale boost themselves.

    7. McL to FA: ok Fernando you can do indy, but you have to take it down a notch on the press conferences.

      It was funnier before

    8. The only problem with this is that the disappointment after another inevitable breakdown during the race will be even harder to swallow this time.

    9. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      13th May 2017, 16:54

      Won’t it be entertaining if Button gets a top 3 start in Monaco :D

      If Mclaren Honda will be competitive anywhere, it will probably be there. If the car has no reliability in Monaco, then Button and Vandoorne could well get some points. I still don’t like that Alonso has chosen something over racing here.

      1. Was thinking the same. I guess Alonso might be having second thoughts about this Indy thing just as we are about to head to track where the engine matters the least. I guess we’ll never know what he might have done there this year. How unfortunate. :-/

        1. @lancesuk doubt it… for him it must be equally painful to finish 5th, 7th or 10th.

      2. Jorge Olivier
        14th May 2017, 3:25

        Adding the number of components used so far in Alonso’s car and how often they fail Jenson’s chances of hitting a penalty in Monaco and starting last are high.

    10. Kudos to Alonso for the great performance. I am not crediting him with walking on water but he did his best and placed the car where it normally should be if they could keep it running long enough. The sad thing is the spectator who is going to go out in the car park and discover somebody stole the engine from his Honda Civic.

    11. Nando should take a few turns around the Brickyard before every GP!

    12. I think what with Honda recently stating “we don’t know what the problem was” in regards to explosive engines, they’ll be flummoxed to come up with a reason why it held together for qualy today ?
      Head scratching somewhat….
      Real pleased for ALO’s effort though.

    13. I understand exactly what Alonso means, but he’s wrong. It’s not a ‘gift’.
      It’s the result of damned hard work and the application of an awful lot of talent. I fervently hope that he is able to translate that into a 7th place – or better – tomorrow. That would send him to Indy with maximum self-confidence.

      1. I read it that it was his gift of sorts to the team. He mentions ‘they’ve worked hard’ and this will ‘give them a boost’

      2. Absolutely, it’s the result of hard work from a bunch of people!
        Go McLaren, go Honda!

    14. A gift from whom ? Mclaren or Honda. Psss of already. Egomaniac, f off to indie and stay there, cheat.

      1. Keith, you might want to check where the poster AceAce is posting from – I suspect that he might be a former member of this site who was kicked off for constant malicious posting (his posting style, and particularly his incessant attacks on Alonso, remind me a lot of another posters who kept stirring up trouble by behaving in such a way).

    15. It is possible that McLaren has a decent chassis this season. It would seem so with this qualifying result. It is also possible the Honda engine may have a decent power possibility. Unfortunately what it does not have is decent or predictable reliability. It held together for qualifying, but how far will it need to be dialed back to maintain reliability for the race? And how many places will that cost to have any chance to finish the race? One option would be to run it full race power just to see what happens. Bet they won’t do that though…

      1. It is possible that McLaren has a decent chassis this season.

        I think @bullmello this session demonstrates they have a decent midfield chassis. And when the engine holds together, it can deliver some power (although I suspect it’s still detuned and as a lot more potential).
        The whole package is plaged by a random reliability (can’t do more than 2 corners for a few days and then suddenly runs twice a Grand Prix distance).

    16. Robert McKay
      14th May 2017, 9:03

      It’ll be a second gift if the car doesn’r conk out on the way to the grid, or on the formation lap and a third gift if it makes the end, let alone make the end in a good points-scoring position…

    Comments are closed.