Fernando Alonso says thirteenth on the grid for the Australian Grand Prix is not where he wants to be but after the problematic pre-season testing programme, having a trouble-free weekend so far is encouraging.
The McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team racer was able to push during both qualifying sessions on Saturday afternoon at Albert Park but was able to find out how competitive the MCL32 is compared to his rivals.
Despite this, Alonso knows Sunday’s race will be difficult after failing to complete a full race simulation during testing, and may need help from the weather and other drivers dropping out of the race to score points.
“After the difficulties we encountered in winter testing, we came to Melbourne without a clear idea of where we stood,” said Alonso. “But we’ve more or less run through all the sessions without trouble – which is better than we’d expected.
“I had sufficient sets of tyres to be able to enjoy my laps in both Q1 and Q2. I was happy with the balance of the car and was able to really push it. That’s useful because, at the moment, we need to extract the maximum out of the package we have.
“Tomorrow we’ll start 13th – in the middle of the pack – which is definitely not our target. Finishing the race is going to be tough. And, if we do finish it, to end up in a decent position we’ll need help from the weather and for other cars to encounter trouble.”