McLaren-Honda's Fernando Alonso is pessimistic about his chances of remaining in the top-ten on Saturday during qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Alonso was 14th fastest in opening practice at the Yas Marina Circuit on Friday, but improved in the second session and finished the day ninth overall on a 1m 42.955s, just 0.027s off Nico Hulkenberg in eighth and only 0.106s off former Ferrari team-mate, Kimi Raikkonen in seventh.

"I think many things can be behind this good Friday," Alonso replied when asked if it is a sign the team has made some progress. "One: is probably the improvements of the car, they keep working and keep bringing us more performance. Then maybe we put on the supersoft tyres at the best moment of the session and later than the others. I think tomorrow we will not be ninth, unfortunately, we will be a little bit worse than that.

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"But I am happy with the car today and happy with the progress. We completed the programme that we had for today and hopefully tomorrow we can see some better results."

Meanwhile, Alonso added that he expects the race to be difficult in terms of tyres, especially with the supersoft.

"I tried the supersoft on my long run - as we expected, there's a bit of graining on that particular tyre, so the race will be tough, but it'll be the same for everybody," he noted.