Fernando Alonso Will Start Season-Best P6 at Brazilian Grand Prix
‘Finally!’ -Fernando Alonso, probably.
After a full season of struggles with McLaren-Honda, Fernando Alonso was able to qualify in P6 for the Brazilian Grand Prix, a season-best. Although he finished seventh fastest on the day, Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo was penalized for engine changes, bumping 'Nando up a spot for Sunday's race. The Spaniard double world champion was obviously content with the team's performance as he was able to slot in directly behind Force India's Sergio Perez and join the third row at Interlagos.
McLaren, who will be switching to Renault engine supply in 2018, has consistently worked to overcome reliability and power issues through this season. However, woes in both qualifying and on race day have held the Woking-based outfit back from achieving a podium in the past three years. Fernando Alonso has been the most outwardly affected piece of the puzzle, but after an exceptional showing in Q3, he was all smiles.
When asked if he was happy with his qualifying results, he replied “Yeah I was. Normally we cross the line and we are one of the first cars so are always P7, P8 but then when the radio call comes, normally it’s P9 or P10 so, when the said still P7 and we start in six tomorrow, I say yes. Now we start from a real position.
“I think we have a good car for Sunday but I have no doubts that (Daniel) Ricciardo and (Lewis) Hamilton will come back tomorrow very strong in the race. It will be very difficult to defend those positions but, as we saw in Mexico, I will not give up. I will try to defend from whatever guy is attacking me and hopefully we score points tomorrow."
Alonso hopes that this will foreshadow next year's results as he has often claimed McLaren to have the best car on the grid minus its engine. He mentioned previously that McLaren could "qualify 1-2 with more power", and as he showed by signing a contract extension with the team, he's got faith for a comeback come 2018's Australian Grand Prix kickoff.
“I think we are quite competitive now. We are in a good position. The car is showing great performance lately and I think that is coming from the chassis development." Alonso continued, “That’s quite a good direction that we took and in Australia next year we will be a completely different team and we are looking forward."