Fernando Alonso has revealed that the McLaren F1 Team will be looking to maximise their qualifying performance in Singapore, in anticipation of a “close battle” to get into the top-ten shootout.
Alonso and McLaren enjoyed a promising evening at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, the Spaniard setting the eighth fastest time – 1.7 seconds adrift of pacesetter Kimi Räikkönen.
Unlike his team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne, Alonso suffered no technical problems and labelled the day a “positive Friday”.
“It was a positive Friday,” Alonso said. “It’s always amazing to be around these streets at these speeds.”
Despite Vandoorne’s problems, McLaren did find time to compare “different configurations” on both cars and Alonso is confident about the data gathered.
“We tried some interesting stuff, also comparing different configurations on the two cars,” he continued.
“We gathered good information about the tyres and about the set-up changes that we were managing in both free practice sessions, and we will go through them tonight.”
Furthermore, the 37-year-old was happy with the 54 laps he clocked up over the day’s two Free Practice sessions.
“I managed to get quite a good amount of laps under my belt, which on a street circuit is very important as the more running you get, the more confident you are.”
A controversial winner of the inaugural Singapore Grand Prix a decade ago, Alonso believes that McLaren can break the top-ten in qualifying for the first time since Monaco – in potentially his last appearance in the race.
Before the weekend, Alonso stressed the importance of McLaren continuing development of the troublesome MCL33 in order to keep pace with a very competitive midfield.
“It’s going to be a close battle to make it into Q3 tomorrow, but qualifying position is very important here so we are giving priority to our Saturdays performance,” he added.
“Track evolution we know is huge in Singapore, so you try to follow the track conditions as well, and I think our preparation for tomorrow’s qualifying is okay.”