Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018

Alonso hails “nearly perfect” qualifying run

2018 Spanish Grand Prix

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McLaren’s Fernando Alonso has described his qualifying run to eighth for the Spanish Grand Prix as ‘nearly perfect’.

After securing McLaren’s first appearance in Q3 of the season, Alonso says he believes that the team ‘optimised’ its performance during the session.

“Obviously it’s the first time for us in Q3 this year,” says Alonso. “Eighth, being in front of a Renault and one Haas was a very nice surprise. It was nearly a perfect qualifying for us.”

Alonso set his quickest time of Q3 on the soft compound tyres, after testing both the softs and super softs in Q2.

“We tried to do our best performance and it wasn’t clear today which tyre was the quickest one over one lap, so we decided to test both tyres in Q2 to see which was fastest,” Alonso explains.

“Then in Q3, we found that both tyres were quite similar over one lap and we repeated the same sequence.”

Alonso also praised the performance upgrades that McLaren have introduced this weekend, saying that the car ‘definitely feels quicker’.

“I think our average position was P12 or P13 this year, so eighth is definitely a step forward,” says Alonso. “And everyone brought updates here, so it seems relative to them we made a step forward.

“We did a 1’17.7, I think, over the winter on the hyper soft tyres and we did a 17.7 today on the softs. So it’s a huge step forward and we need to keep bringing as many new parts as possible in the next grands prix because the midfield is quite tight and two or three tenths could change five or six positions. So it’s important not to stop that development.”

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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  • 10 comments on “Alonso hails “nearly perfect” qualifying run”

    1. Nice effort from Alonso, I can’t remember the last time he’s been in Q3. For once I had an added interest in Q3 it was about time! The Haas are still faster though, McLaren has quite some homework to do to keep the good trend!

      1. Last time in q3 is quite easy to remember, he had a good qualifying in interlagos last year, he was always around the best of the rest fighting with massa both in qualifying and race, not sure if he made q3 in abu dhabi.

        And yes, so far mclaren has been really good at not making mistakes and with reliability, having alonso they should have a shot at p4 in the constructor, haas despite being faster are wasting too many chances, think renault, who have more money than haas and are in constant improvement are the biggest rivals for mclaren.

    2. good for them, the new nose looks high tech.

    3. Mmm I think it is more due to his ability around this track. He is always exceptional around Barcelona. I think Stoffel’s lap is more an i dication of where the car is comparatively which atill leaves them nehind Renault and Haas which is about where they were anyway.

      1. Damn phones!

      2. You are right. Hulk had issues with his car. Considering that Alonso finished tenth in the Q2 with Sainz in front, Hulk could have be higher than Alonso in Q2. Hence, 11 and 12 places on the start for McLaren drivers.
        We will see also their pace tomorrow. They were quite strong in race trim. Plus Alonso starts on SS, so the first several laps will be very interesting.

    4. Neil (@neilosjames)
      12th May 2018, 20:45

      Says much about McLaren that a near-perfect lap, from one of the best drivers F1 has ever seen, in an upgraded car and at a circuit where he always does well, is still 1.548 seconds off pole. On a pretty short lap.

      Knew they wouldn’t be challenging at the front this year and didn’t expect anything special – much as they downplayed it, the switch to Renault will have obviously compromised their design, and it’ll take time to get up to speed – but they’re probably half a second off where I thought they might be at this stage.

      Feel sorry for Alonso. And also extremely sorry for myself, because I’m not getting to see him fighting against the other top drivers…

    5. Alonso qualified seventh in Spain with a McLaren-Honda last year and eighth this year with a McLaren-Renault.

      1. Ed Jones…It is disheartening, but Haas have improved significantly over the winter and so have Renault. I think Mclaren will get better. Alonso got through q1 pretty comfortably on mediums…so that’s good.

      2. I wouldn’t say 7th vs 8th is the whole picture, alonso if I recall was absolutely nowhere last year in spain, he didn’t retire but was like 12th-13th, generally race pace was a lot better than qualifying this year, so let’s see, a best of the rest finish should be possible if they keep the trend of not making mistakes\having issues.

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