Fernando Alonso: “Our aim for qualifying is to be in Q3”

Fernando Alonso was ninth fastest in FP2
Credit: Steven Tee/McLaren

Fernando Alonso said it was a case of ‘so far, so good’ after finishing around the top ten in both free practice sessions at the Bahrain International Circuit on Friday, and he insists he is targeting making it through to the top ten shootout of Qualifying for the first time this season on Saturday.

The McLaren F1 Team racer was eleventh in the first session but improved to ninth in the evening session, and overall the Spaniard felt it was a positive day in the desert for the Woking-based outfit.

“Today was a case of ‘so far, so good’,” said Alonso.  “The weekend has started in a positive way and there’s nothing in particular to worry about.

“There is a lot of analysis that we need to do concerning some of the new parts we have on our two cars, so I think we need to put everything together now and find the best compromise for tomorrow. Our aim for qualifying is to be in Q3 – a target we missed in Australia – and we need to deliver and do a perfect lap, so that we can beat some of the cars in front of us.”

Alonso was happy that McLaren were able to complete their full planned programme on Friday, but he admitted that everyone was a little bit surprised about how much the Pirelli tyres were degrading, which will have a big effect on Sunday.

“It’s good that we completed our programme today,” said Alonso.  “It’s always very important, especially in the evening session, to do as many laps as possible and understand the tyres, as we probably had higher degradation than we expected and we need to take this into account for Sunday. 

“There’s a little bit more to extract from the car and hopefully we’ll do that tomorrow.”