For the first time in the latest McLaren-Honda era, the team saw one of their drivers make it through to the final part of qualifying, and after being inside the top ten in all practice sessions prior to the qualifying session, it was Fernando Alonso who made it through.
Alonso will start his home Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya from tenth position, and believed the top ten appearance was overdue for the team, and the Spaniard knows track position will be key on a circuit notorious difficult to overtake on.
“Today is the first time in a long while that I haven’t watched Q3 on television!” said Alonso. “And it’s nice to be part of the show. This is new-shape McLaren-Honda’s first time in Q3 – but, in truth, we probably deserved this result a couple of races ago.
“But never mind that now: let’s just enjoy it before we turn our attention to tomorrow and look at how we can convert it into world championship points. That’ll require some thought because, for the first time this year, we’ll be starting on used Q2 tyres – we don’t have a free choice, which is a slight handicap that we’ll look to recover somehow.
“Nonetheless, we should be thinking about moving forwards tomorrow – and doing that here is usually all about the start and the pit-stops. Put it this way: I don’t think we’ll see too much overtaking tomorrow. That means we really need to focus on the start, and then look after our tyres because degradation is likely to be a factor.
“There’s still a long way to go, but this is a good step.”