Fernando Alonso says saving mileage was a benefit to his early exit from qualifying for the Russian Grand Prix since he will be starting at the back of the grid anyway.

With team-mate Jenson Button progressing to Q2 and putting the car 13th, Alonso failed to make it out of the first qualifying phase, placing him a provisional 16th on the grid.

However, with 35-positions worth of grid penalties following changes to his Honda power unit, Alonso insists dropping out of Q1 was a useful opportunity to save mileage since it has no bearing on the final result.

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"On my last run the tyres didn't give me enough grip, so maybe what we did in the first run, with more warm up laps, was better as I had more grip on the timed lap. The two laps I did were good but what we had today was not enough to get out of Q1.

"At least we didn't have to do some laps in Q2, so we could save the engine a bit, as whatever position I would get today I would start last because of the penalties I'll get. I didn't want to do many laps, we prepared well for tomorrow even though we know it will be a difficult race for us.

Reflecting on the strengths and struggles of the McLaren-Honda MP4-30 package around the Sochi Autodrom, Alonso admits the lack of a top speed is once again hurting him and that he using 'one of the worst engines' he has.

"We don't have enough top speed and that's very important on this circuit, but the car is well balanced. We knew it would be difficult, so we decided to take the penalty here but keep the new engine for the next races."