Fernando Alonso said the McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team were much more competitive at the power-hungry Autodromo Nazionale Monza in the wet conditions on Saturday than they would have been if qualifying was held in the dry, even though the Spaniard was always going to start at the back of the field.
A thirty-five place grid penalty for an engine change meant Alonso was never going to be off the back row of the grid, but he did manage to advance through the first qualifying session before completing only one lap in the second to save on engine mileage.
Pre-race plans to aid team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne with a tow, much like the Belgian did with Alonso last weekend in Belgium, went out of the window because of the extreme weather, but he insists he will try to repay the Belgian with a tow in a future race.
“The car was great today in wet conditions, especially compared to the dry,” said Alonso. “We were much more competitive and we made it into Q2.
“Obviously, we didn’t want to push too much in qualifying because there was no point – we’ll start last anyway, due to the penalty – so we just saved the tyres and used the engine in a lower power mode, but we still did a decent qualifying.
“We needed to keep an eye on Stoffel’s position too, as we didn’t want to be in Q3 with the wrong car! We missed the opportunity to use the tow today because with wet conditions you don’t want anyone in front, as the visibility is so poor. We’ll save it for some future races.
“I think we were potentially top five or top six today, so we hope for these conditions tomorrow. It’s apparently going to be sunny though, but we’ll see what we can do from there.”