Fernando Alonso is banking on some typical Baku drama in the 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix as his McLaren F1 Team once again struggled in qualifying.
Alonso out-qualified his team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne by over four-tenths-of-a-second but lines up just thirteenth for the third race in a row. The two-time world champion has scored points in every race so far this season and will look to make the most of what he expects to be a “crazy and fun” grand prix.
“Qualifying still isn’t the strongest part of our weekend, but a lot usually happens during a street race, and at this track in particular,” said Alonso.
“There’s no room for mistakes around this circuit: it’s very windy, dusty, the walls are very close, and you cannot push or over-drive the car. It’s also a mentally tough race, so I think tomorrow is going to be both crazy and fun at the same time.”
Alonso hinted that McLaren have removed some downforce from their MCL33 in order to improve the car’s top speed, at the cost of some corner grip.
“This weekend, we seem to have improved our top-speed compared to previous races, but we’ve also compromised some grip in the corners.
“Still, during Q2, the wind picked up a little, and we were losing speed along the straights due to the headwind. Tomorrow, that wind should be even stronger, so it’s going to be important to race among a group of cars to stay in the fight.
“This is the third time in a row where I’ve qualified 13th, and we normally seem to score good points from that position. Hopefully tomorrow will be another one of those good days.”