Fernando Alonso felt eleventh on the grid was the best result he could have hoped for during qualifying for the Mexican Grand Prix, and it will give the Spaniard a free choice of starting tyre on Sunday.
The McLaren-Honda Formula 1 Team racer admits that the team have seemed to have lost a little bit of competitiveness in recent rounds, with the Woking-based team having fought for higher grid slots earlier in the season, but Alonso knows eleventh is a good place to be starting at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
“I think eleventh place was probably the best possible position we could dream of today in terms of race strategy, as we’ll have free choice of tyres tomorrow for the race start and we’ll be on the clean side of the track,” said Alonso. “So you could say that many things went our way today.
“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 tenth position – so, that being the case, we’d rather be in eleventh position. But, that’s a side-issue really: more important is that we need to understand why we’re slightly struggling for pace here.”
Alonso believes no one will have complete knowledge on how the Pirelli tyres will work on Sunday, with how they degrade and work seemingly differing from day to day and from session to session, and the Spaniard knows the team will have to be flexible when it comes to strategy.
“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,” said Alonso. “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.”