Although it was pleasing for Fernando Alonso to make it through to his first top ten shootout of the season at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Saturday, he feels the gap to the leading three teams is still too big, with the Spaniard ending more than one and a half seconds off polesitter Lewis Hamilton.
The McLaren F1 Team racer will start eighth on the grid on Sunday, missing out on seventh to Kevin Magnussen by less than a tenth of a second, but after missing out on the top ten in the opening four races of the season, Alonso feels the team has made a step forward this weekend.
“Making it into Q3 for the first time this season feels fantastic, and if you combine that with the fact we are at our home grand prix, it’s a double benefit,” said Alonso. “I’m happy – we were P13 in the last few qualifying sessions, so P8 today is definitely a step forward.
“The top guys are still too high up so we need to close that gap, but I’m pleased that all the updates we brought here seem to be delivering as we expected. We just need new parts as soon as possible and to keep going in this direction.”
Alonso feels the special support he receives in his homeland seems to give him a little bit of a boost, and he hopes he can convert his position on the grid into another top ten finish, with the Spaniard having scored points in all four Grand Prix so far in 2018 to sit sixth in the standings.
“Every Spanish Grand Prix is special, and there are always a lot of emotions when you go out there and feel all the support,” said Alonso. “The fans are not giving you extra performance because they can’t push the car, but they can motivate a little bit more so we seem to always perform a little bit better here.
“Hopefully tomorrow we’ll put on a good show for all the fans. Maybe there’ll be some rain around, and that could be very interesting. Over the winter we’ve learned that a wet track is very slippery here, so we could have a chaotic race and maybe out of any chaos we can benefit.”