Formula 1

Fernando Alonso: “It feels better to be able to potentially fight for Q3”

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McLaren enjoyed a positive Friday in Hungary - Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Both McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team drivers finished inside the top ten in both free practice sessions on Friday, although both Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne remain cautious about their potential for the rest of the weekend.

Alonso finished seventh in the opening session before following that up with an eighth place in the afternoon, and he hopes the weekend at the Hungaroring is a more competitive one for the McLaren team on the back of a number of difficult weekends for the Woking-based outfit.

“It was a good day; even though it’s always difficult on a Friday to get a clear picture, we’re more or less where we thought we would be,” said Alonso. “We did some good testing and now we need to analyse the data and see where we’ve made progress.

“We’re a little bit more competitive here than we were in the last couple of races, and it feels better to be able to potentially fight for Q3 and for a top-10 finish. We are taking care of every single detail – the smallest things matter.”

Vandoorne ended up eighth in the morning session, just 0.018 seconds behind his team-mate, although he was tenth in the afternoon, under a tenth of a second shy of Alonso.

A power unit issue curtailed his session early, but luckily for the Belgian, the engine was set to be replaced at the end of the day anyway, and he’ll go into the rest of the weekend currently free of penalties.

“With both cars in the top 10, today’s been a fairly positive day for us – everything went as we expected,” admitted Vandoorne. “As usual, the times in the midfield are very tight, so it’ll be very important to find those tiny steps for tomorrow to enable us to improve a little bit.

“At the end of the session, we had a problem with the MGU-H but it didn’t really matter because the PU I was using was already at the end of its mileage and we were going to fit another engine anyway, so luckily we’ll have no penalties.

“I feel comfortable in the car, even though it’s still not 100% there yet, and I’m confident we can take a step forward tomorrow.”

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