Fernando Alonso has said that he was happy with the performance of his McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team car on Friday in Mexico City.
Alonso finished in the top ten in both sessions at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, even managing a credible seventh in Free Practice 2, making him best of the rest outside the sport’s ‘Top 3’.
The Spaniard was particularly pleased with the afternoon session on a ‘complicated circuit’.
“I would say that today has been a very positive and productive Friday.” said Alonso. “We did a lot of laps, a lot of tests, and most of them gave us good feedback.
“We were only seven tenths away from the fastest time and two tenths from [Valtteri] Bottas, so surprisingly competitive in both sessions on such a complicated circuit.”
Despite a promising start to the weekend, Alonso remained cautious about raising his hopes for Qualifying and beyond, readying himself for “a difficult race” due to a well-known lack of straight-line speed in his Honda power unit.
Adding to his existing Honda issues, Alonso admitted that this may prove to be a throwaway race for McLaren. The weekend has already seen Alonso’s team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne fall victim to mechanical gremlins, the Belgian failing to set a time in the morning session.
“We know it’s going to be a difficult race anyway, starting from the back, and with little chance of overtaking because of our top speed,” said Alonso.
“In some ways we have to sacrifice this race in order to have a fresh engine in Brazil and Abu Dhabi.”
Additionally, Alonso noted that McLaren are yet to devise a clear Qualifying programme.
“We also don’t yet know which way to go for qualifying – we need to decide on a few things in terms of tyres, and see which decision gives us the least painful result.”