It was a relatively drama-free day for Fernando Alonso at the Autόdromo Hermanos Rodríguez on Saturday after he produced a clean lap in both qualy one and two to qualify in eleventh place on Sunday’s grid.
The McLaren team’s final practice session was dedicated to both high- and low-fuel running in preparation for qualifying and the race, as they were able to evaluate the different tyre compounds on a much warmer track.
In qualifying, Alonso put in some solid laps in clear air however, the top 10 was not quite within his reach.
“I think 11th place was probably the best possible position we could dream of in terms of race strategy, as we’ll have free choice of tyres for the race start and we’ll be on the clean side of the track,” the Spaniard explained. “So you could say that many things went our way.”
“Unfortunately, however, we aren’t quick enough here. A few races ago we were routinely making it into Q3 and then fighting for seventh or eighth position, which is good, but here we’re fighting for ninth or 10th position – so, that being the case, we’d rather be in 11th position. But, that’s a side-issue really: more important is that we need to understand why we’re slightly struggling for pace here.”
“Tyre degradation, which will be the key factor tomorrow, has been different from team to team, from set to set and also from day to day, so I think tomorrow we’ll all be going into a slightly unknown situation. So we’ll need to be very flexible and open to strategies, and then we’ll see what we can do.”
“Finally, avoiding traffic will be one of tomorrow’s priorities, since we’ll have a free tyre choice.”