Fernando Alonso: “It’s going to be tough to maintain our qualifying position”

Fernando Alonso will start tenth in Malaysia - Credit: Glenn Dunbar/McLaren

Fernando Alonso was satisfied to see both himself and team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne make it through to the top ten shootout for the Malaysian Grand Prix, even if his MCL32 appeared not to work as well on Saturday as it did on Friday.

The Spaniard will start Sunday’s race from tenth on the grid after scrapping into Qualifying 3 by just 0.024 seconds at the expense of Felipe Massa, but he will start three places behind Vandoorne, who put his MCL32 into seventh.

Alonso feels the McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team will do well to retain their positions during the race at the Sepang International Circuit, feeling their qualifying pace is better than their race pace at this point of the season, although he is hoping for a sprinkling of race to make it possible for points.

“I’m satisfied with this result, and with how the weekend has gone in general, but it’s going to be tough to maintain our qualifying position tomorrow,” said Alonso.

“We know that our race pace is not as strong as our qualifying pace, so we’ll probably struggle a little bit more if conditions remain dry. However, maybe some rain will affect the race – some mixed conditions would improve things for us.

“I think performance was there for us this weekend, and getting both cars in Q3 on this circuit is a very good sign. The new parts we brought here worked well yesterday but maybe didn’t work as well today, so we will have a close look to that.

“It’s a very close field: it’s going to be tough to maintain our position tomorrow, but we’ll do our best, as always.”