Fernando Alonso admitted his McLaren F1 Team were ‘a little bit worried’ heading into qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix before the Spaniard secured seventh spot on the gird for the race on Sunday.
Alonso had struggled early on on Saturday finishing practice in fifteenth but got it right when it matters to line up on the fourth row of the grid.
“We were a little bit worried after finishing FP3 in fifteenth position – we lacked some pace and the balance was not ideal,” said Alonso. “But the team did a great job ahead of qualifying: we changed the car completely, a bit like throwing a coin in the air and having everything work out fine.”
Monaco is very heavy on traffic due to it being such a short track and with the optimum tyre life only being one lap, it added an extra element to qualifying, something which the two time World Champion enjoyed.
“This afternoon’s session was a little bit stressful – there was a lot of traffic, and you really needed to deliver a lap when your tyres are at their newest, and then wait and see if your time is good enough,” said the Spaniard. “That’s quite tense, but at the same time it’s very challenging.”
Alonso has won at the Circuit de Monaco in the past and is aware that to score well, you have to keep the car out of the barriers and work something out on strategy.
“Tomorrow is going to be a long race,” said Alonso. “We just need to stay away from the walls and bring the car home with the best possible result. That’s going to mean securing your starting position on the first lap and then playing with the strategy.
“Key to this race will be the tyres – the Hypersoft has very high degradation, so we’ll need to manage that.”