McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team‘s Fernando Alonso said he was happy achieving seventh in Qualifying for Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix.
The Spaniard performed brilliantly around Sao Paulo to get himself alongside Sahara Force India F1 Team‘s Sergio Perez, as the best of the rest and achieving his equal best qualifying position of the year, levelling with his seventh at the Spanish Grand Prix.
With penalties to consider for Red Bull Racing‘s Daniel Ricciardo, this will push Alonso up to sixth place for the race tomorrow, and he says that the result today has made him happy, particularly as the conditions around the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace in Qualifying were tricky, due mainly to the small amount of drizzle that appeared on track.
“I’m happy with P7 today, particularly because it was a difficult qualifying,” said Alonso. “Conditions were very tricky: you see drops of rain on the visor, and that takes some confidence away even when the asphalt is completely dry.
“So you have to trust what the car is doing, and commit to the corner even though your mind is saying something different.
“Yesterday, we weren’t completely happy with the balance of the car and with the performance, but today the car stepped up and we were more competitive.”
The Spaniard will start the race in sixth but says the charging pace of Ricciardo and Lewis Hamilton in the race tomorrow, Alonso believes that he’ll have to do some defending tomorrow.
“P6 is a fantastic starting position for scoring points, but we know that Hamilton and Ricciardo will come back very strongly tomorrow,” said Alonso.
“I’ll try to defend as much as I can even though tomorrow we expect a very sunny day and completely dry conditions, so it’s not going to be easy to hold on to our position.”
With Sao Paulo notorious for throwing unpredictable weather conditions during the race weekend, the two-time world champion says that rain would be beneficial for the McLaren team but a top ten result in the race will be the goal.
“A little bit of rain is always welcome for us,” admits the Spaniard. “We seem to be more competitive in damp conditions, but being in the top 10 tomorrow is our goal. Saturday has been great, let’s see what Sunday brings.”