Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Sepang International Circuit, 2017

Alonso says it will be “nearly impossible” to keep Vettel behind

2017 Malaysian Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel will have no difficulty getting past the McLarens despite starting from last place, Fernando Alonso predicted.

Alonso qualified tenth for tomorrow’s race and laughed off questions about whether he might be able to stay in front of Vettel, who will line up ten places further back.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Sepang International Circuit, 2017
Malaysian GP qualifying and final practice in pictures
“No it’s going to be nearly impossible,” said Alonso. “We saw some races of Sebastian starting last in the last year, I don’t know where, and he finished fifth I remember. So I think that’s too much of a target for us.”

Both McLarens reached Q3 in Malaysia but Alonso is concerned they will be less competitive in the grand prix.

“I think it’s going to be tough,” he said. “The race pace we know is not as strong as in qualifying sometimes. So we probably struggle a little bit more tomorrow.”

“But we’ll see. Maybe some rain coming and that will improve things for us, probably.”

Alonso also questioned whether the floor upgrade which was introduced on his car yesterday had been as significant a step forward as the team had claimed.

“It didn’t [help] today. Yesterday they were OK and we made public that very clear. Maybe today we need to un-public something.”

Stoffel Vandoorne echoed his team mate’s view that the team may be less competitive in the race but said he was pleased with his seventh place on the grid.

“Everything came more or less together for us,” said Vandoorne. “Qualifying seventh today is as good as it gets for us around a circuit like this.”

2017 Malaysian 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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  • 10 comments on “Alonso says it will be “nearly impossible” to keep Vettel behind”

    1. Positive thinking Fernando, positive thinking. He should worry more about his team mate who is showing increasing signs of being able to beat him. That would never do while the contract for next year still isn’t signed..

      1. Dont worry he will drive his best race ever tomorrow and if hes still top 10 after half the race he might even finish it without any sudden “engine problems”.

    2. I still wonder how much of their top speed deficit is down to a lack of power, or if they just bold on a lot of downforce so they can claim to have a great chassis and it‘s all Hondas fault.

      Also, what‘s the reason for their worse race pace?
      Setup, fuel saving, deployment..?

      1. With two long straights, they will lose out in a big way due to their lack of top speed compared to others, so in the race with the cars bunched up they will drop like a stone i’m sure – much like back at Spa when Fernando made it up to 7th and was just picked off easily lap after lap on the main straight.

      2. @jon-thereyougo They seem to have alot of problem with electrical energy harvesting and deployment. In qualifying when they get warmup laps ahead of every fast lap they manage but there are no warmup laps in the race and they cant harvest/deploy as much as everyone else can without a pause.

        Then again im totally with you on how much of an engine problem this really is. We have seen Red Bull snatch some odd podiums and even wins with an engine that by the looks of it was just as bad. I guess the hammer will fall next season when they go on equal terms with RB and Renault.

        1. @jon-thereyougo IIRC it is energy harvesting as @rethla said. They can’t charge quick enough to deploy it every lap. Also it seems Honda fuel consumption is a bit higher which again hinder their ability to deliver high performance at every lap. It’s very noticeable in Spa, and I think tomorrow will be clear again where for a few first lap the McLarens can maybe attack or at least defend their positions then they just mercilessly overtaken by everyone. Of course, being need to worry when the engine will just call it quits add another problem.

          In short, aside from maximum peak power (which is not that behind compared to other engines now I believe), their primary problem is how to keep delivering that amount of power.

      3. @jon-thereyougo Their engine is the slowest on the grid. This has a lot of consequences.
        Chassis aero is heavily compromised due to lack of power, fuel consumption is very high to compensate the power deficit and probably drivers have to take defensive driving styles and that slows them even further.

        1. Also at a time where Mercedes just claimed to have reached a 50% efficiency with its engine (which is incredible as no car engine has ever reached such efficiency) I guess the Honda one is far from that.

    3. Sundar Srinivas Harish
      30th September 2017, 13:02

      You don’t say?

    Comments are closed.