Alonso says ‘more speed to come’ after strong opening qualifying at IMS


Fernando Alonso was seventh fastest in his first qualifying session at IMS - Credit: Mike Harding / IndyCar

Fernando Alonso put in a strong four-lap run around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday to finish inside the top nine to progress into Sunday’s pole position shootout.

The McLaren Honda Andretti driver was the only rookie to make it through on Saturday, with his four-lap average of 230.034mph enough to see him finish seventh quickest, and he believes that there is still more pace to come from the #29 machine.

“Definitely, very happy,” said Alonso. “Obviously, now, we just finished the run. I’m really hopeful we’ll be in the Fast Nine, and tomorrow I think we will be much quicker than today. But anyway, it has been a fantastic week of running, a fantastic week of different experiences, running alone, high boost, low boost; every lap feels different.

“Today we only had one attempt because of the weather, so that creates stress in everybody. I think we deal with that today. But as I said, I think there will be more speed to come, hopefully, tomorrow.”

Alonso has revealed that he has become more familiar with IndyCar and oval driving this week, and with the support of his five Andretti Autosport team-mates, he feels confident that he can perform well across the remainder of the month of May.

“The first lap May 3rd here; I mean, everything was strange for me,” said Alonso. “The car – how it turns in the corner, how it rotates in the corner was a little bit strange. But now I feel confident with the team. We are a six-car team, so we have a lot of information that we share.

“All the team-mates, they have been a big help for me in terms of set-up with the car and also running in traffic. We’ve been running a lot together, and that’s really a huge help for me.”