Fernando Alonso says he will be setting his sights on battling with the Saubers to break out of Q1 for the British Grand Prix, accepting his other rivals are too quick for them this weekend.

On a day of fairly minimal running as he protects a used engine to try and see out the weekend without another grid penalty, Alonso ended the day in 15th position, bettering only the Saubers, the Manors and his team-mate Jenson Button.

Indeed, with a gulf in pace to the mid-field ahead, Alonso is keeping his expectations modest for qualifying and will focus on getting race mileage.

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Q2 is going to be tough, it's not easy because only Sauber seems on our pace, the other ones seem to quick for us. We need to beat the Saubers if we want to be in Q2, that's the first thing. Once we do qualifying with the maximum performance then on Sunday we will do the race."

With several drivers complaining about the tyres, Alonso says the issue is magnified for McLaren as he has to push harder in corners to make up for the Honda power unit's straight-line deficit.

"We are slow. The tyres are not very grippy, with these compounds we saw a lot of cars going off and it was no different for us. Also we are losing a lot of time on the straights and tried to gain time on the corners, so it's a difficult situation but as we knew and we try to get the maximum out of the car.