Fernando Alonso: “I really enjoyed driving today”

Credit: McLaren Media Centre

Fernando Alonso will start the Brazilian Grand Prix in tenth, his best qualifying result since the Singapore Grand Prix.

The McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team driver posted strong lap-times in all three qualifying sessions on Saturday, with his final time of 1:12.266 putting him in tenth, ahead of the Williams Martini Racing of Valtteri Bottas.

With team-mate Jenson Button going out in Q1, Alonso was worried that Saturday wouldn’t be his day especially after gearbox worries in final practice, but his car behaved fantastically on each tyre-set he used to finish within the top ten.

“I really enjoyed driving today and felt really confident with the car,” said Alonso. “These cooler conditions seem to suit our package a little better than yesterday’s higher temperatures.

“Still, we were a little bit worried after FP3 as we weren’t completely on the pace, and I was even more worried when I saw Jenson go out in Q1. I just thought, ‘This isn’t going to be our Saturday!’ but – happily – my car behaved fantastically on each of the five Option tyre-sets I used in qualifying.”

Despite the good performance on Saturday, there was disappointment for Alonso on Friday. The Spaniard only completed 18 laps before engineers told him to stop his MP4-31, it was later confirmed it was an ERS problem.

With losing valuable track time, Alonso hopes this isn’t going to cost him in Sunday’s Grand Prix at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace.

“I hope the track time I lost yesterday isn’t going to cost me too much in tomorrow’s race,” added Alonso.

“As everybody conducted their long runs in totally different weather conditions. Tomorrow, we’re expecting it to be cooler with the possibility of some rain, so it’s good to be starting in the top 10.”