Fernando Alonso felt that the McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team achieved their first goal of the weekend to get both cars through into the top ten shootout, but now their attention turns to getting both him and Stoffel Vandoorne into the points on Sunday.
The Spaniard pulled a great lap out of the bag in Qualifying 3 at the Marina Bay Street Circuit to get ahead of Vandoorne in eighth position, and although he knows the leading trio of teams – Scuderia Ferrari, Red Bull Racing and Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team – are out of reach, he hopes McLaren can challenge for positions seven and eight on Sunday.
Alonso knows a strong start will be key to a strong result on Sunday, although the Spaniard has question marks about the relative pace of McLaren compared to their rivals are so little time doing long runs.
“The first target of having both cars in Q3 has been achieved, so 50 per cent of the job is done,” said Alonso. “Now our second target is to get both cars in the points tomorrow, which I think is possible from these starting positions.
“Race pace here is always a bit of a question mark; it’s difficult to read. Yesterday’s long runs were not long enough and, added to the difficulty of overtaking on this track, positions will be more or less set after the first lap.
“That means we need to concentrate on making a good start and having a clean first corner. After that, I’ll keep focussed and not make any mistakes. It is a very demanding race but hopefully we can bring some points home.
“The first six cars are too far away in terms of race pace, so our aim will be to defend our positions and possibly climb up to seventh. I hope we can complete the job tomorrow.”