Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Bahrain International Circuit, 2018

Missing Q3 was a “bad surprise” for McLaren – Alonso

2018 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Fernando Alonso said it was a “bad surprise” for McLaren to fall short of reaching Q3 in Bahrain.

The team weren’t able to replicate their practice pace in the evening qualifying session, said Alonso.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Bahrain International Circuit, 2018
Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying in pictures
“It was definitely not a great qualifying for us, it was a bad surprise,” he said. “We didn’t expect to be that far back.

“Q1 was already difficult to go through and then Q2 we were 13th, 14th. Not the positions we wanted. We felt strong yesterday in the long run so we had some hopes for tomorrow’s race. Now obviously the starting position is compromised but hopefully tomorrow we can improve the situation.”

However Alonso said the team understands the cause of its problems in qualifying. “I think we know,” he said. “It is very clear, we know our weakness, we know our strong points at the moment. Hopefully it’s a matter of time, we bring the updates and we improve our weakness.”

Despite their “poor performance” Alonso is hopeful they can make progress in the race. “We were not in Q3 also in Australia and both cars finished in the points so let’s wait and see for tomorrow,” he said.

“The tyre degradation is high, reliability is a concern, we saw Hamilton with a gearbox change. It’s a demanding circuit. We need to stay focused and hopefully take advantage in the strategy. We are not in Q3 so we can have a free choice of tyre, maybe that can help us.”

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Keith Collantine
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  • 40 comments on “Missing Q3 was a “bad surprise” for McLaren – Alonso”

    1. “maybe” “hopefully” “I think” “wait and see”

      Another long season.

      1. GP2 car!

        1. GP2 chassis!

          1. GP2 driver!

            1. GP2 team.

            2. Karma.

          2. Chassis I guess, look at what renault engine does on red bull or even renault itself, and alonso is no doubt still a top driver.

      2. Getting there….won’t be long before we are back on the podium.

    2. Mclaren are a team that seems to talk a lot. Promise a lot and ultimately under-deliver
      For year we heard how they have the best chassis and how its Honda power being the problem
      Now we can see they were just hiding behind Honda’s problems

      No doubt they will improve but I doubt they will be front-running before 2021
      Alonso might as well accept another world title with Mclaren is far off

      1. Indeed @xdugu19. I think they should take a leaf out of Ferrari’s book. All those years when Alonso was there Montezemolo kept on blabing about on and on non stop. As soon as he was shown the door and they started looking down and going about their business, thinks got a lot better. You can see the progress blooming since last year.

      2. It’s called staying positive….it is common in team sports.

    3. Lando Norris deserves a better team :D

    4. May be, just may be; Mclaren’s chassis was indeed bad all these years? They failed in 2013 and 2014. They are having “integration” issues in 2018. But they claim that they had the best chassis in exactly those years (2015-17) where their chassis couldn’t be directly compared to others on the grid?

      Yeah, I believe you Mclaren

      1. Maybe GP2 chassis?

      2. Would you say this is better than previous three years or worse? I would say it is better…they are starting in better position and MCL is a team that always develops towards second half of season….At least everyone can speak English in the engine integration department (watch the Amazon series to get my gist)

        1. @f1supremo

          At least everyone can speak English in the engine integration department

          But this is not an issue for Toro Rosso, don’t you think?

      3. Even then, with some common sense you can make comparisons like, why mclaren was 1 sec slower than the top teams in hungary, and why almost 2 sec slower in singapore, non-power tracks? Surely not all of that was the honda engine, you can say that at monza, but not at tracks that barely have long straights.

    5. Just yesterday Alonso told that he will try to fight for the top 10. But today they were 15-16th pace-wise (Grosjean made a mistake in his final attempt, so did Verstappen.)
      Honda seems better than Renault: Gasly managed to out-qualify both Hulk and Sainz, and even one Haas-Ferrari! Honda finally did it?

      I am speechless. I don’t think I will ever believe any word that Boullier, Alonso or Brown tell us.

      1. Fight for top ten? He said he was going after red bull.

      2. Alonso did not make a mistake…that should tell you something.

    6. Bad surprise indeed… the chassis never was that good they pretended to be.

      1. Enlighten us please….more details.

    7. They didn’t just miss it, they got beaten to it by a Honda.

      What a mistake it was for him to leave Ferrari

    8. Neil (@neilosjames)
      7th April 2018, 20:06

      This doesn’t prove their 2017 chassis wasn’t great – it simply shows their 2018 car isn’t great. Which is hardly surprising, given that the current car is almost certainly riddled with compromises after the late switch to Renault.

      But I do wish they’d stop acting so optimistic and bouncy. Sooner or later they’re going to have to admit they’re in a(nother) transition year, and look ahead to 2019…

      1. Surely in 2017 being 1 sec off the pace in hungary and 1,8 or so in singapore, non-power tracks, doesn’t speak well of their 2017 chassis either?

      2. Never…it’s called staying positive….can you imagine how folks at the factory would feel if the team boss says that….

    9. I agree that Mclaren need to dial back the over-ambitious predictions. Sure this track is showing some strange results but when I hear that they need to “investigate to try to understand” I just despair with all corporate twaddle just let the engineering do the talking.

    10. Red Bull Honda – 2019 World Constructors Champions

      1. It will be interesting to see what decision Marko makes concerning Red Bull’s engine supplier for next year.
        Renault has forced the issue and given him until May 1st to make the decision – so he has the next 2 races to decide.
        It looks like Honda’s on the right track but it is Honda after all and performing good over the next 2 races is hardly concrete evidence they have solved all issues, especially reliability.
        Interesting to see how the Honda engines perform tomorrow.

    11. Since 12 years Alonso produces only failure and chaos.

      Overrated, overhyped, overpaid.

      1. You forgot to add “in my opinion”

      2. Did you not watch last years Indy 500?

    12. Part of the problem might be they spent so much time last season lambasting Honda for all their woes they forgot their own responsibilities.

    13. It’s looking more and more like they overloaded the aero last year to make the car look better in the corners knowing they could just blame the lack of straight-line speed on Honda’s power deficit. Honda still has massive reliability problems but the power seems to be there for TR. McLaren has nowhere to hide at this point and it is really looking like they are lost.

      Heads need to roll. Wonder what Ron is doing these days.

    14. McLaren are liars. Always have been. Horrible team (2007 cheating was the worse). Alonso should admit it, signing for McLaren was a bad surprise. Long may they suffer.

      1. Don’t know where he could go for the last years though, if raikkonen retires and ricciardo replaces him he could temporarily go to red bull? Don’t think they’re afraid to have 2 like verstappen and alonso, or maybe a re-match with hamilton at mercedes if bottas doesn’t deliver, but they’re probably afraid for the stability of the team since it’s likely gonna be worse than hamilton rosberg.

    15. Andre Furtado
      8th April 2018, 0:28

      I know everyone loves a good bashing. I personally don’t think McLaren was wrong in dropping Honda, they had three years of engine unreliability. With that being said I never had reason during those years to think they had a good car design. It’s also easy to forge that Red Bull also had a last minute adjustment to a new engine, which makes me think they must have a better development group and car design. Brawn gp won a championship with a last minute engine, so to my point for McLaren to use the engine as an excuse is probably not the most constructive point they might make.

    16. Amazing how many people are critical and quick to throw McLaren under the bus. If I remember correctly, they did quite well in Melbourne whereas one Honda broke and the other ended up at the back of the field.
      As a McLaren fan, I find it a lot easier to remain positive in this situation than I did over the last 3 years when Honda consistently produced the most unreliable and underpowered engines in F1. And somehow that was McLaren’s fault?
      McLaren will get it right – they finally have a real engine.

    17. McLarn are still bottom of the speed traps despite Renault power, as they were in Australia. It suggests they have a very downforce/drag heavy chassis and based on overall laptimes the aero efficiency isn’t great. Maybe the Honda engine, although bad in previous years wasn’t quite as bad as it was made to look. McLaren will do better on other tracks I’m sure but maybe they need to consider changing their aero compromise to give them better straight line speed.

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