Fernando Alonso says he was “happy to be back” in action on Friday during practice for the Chinese Grand Prix, although he did concede he was still in a “little bit of pain”.
Alonso had to miss the last event in Bahrain after suffering broken ribs in his massive high-speed accident during the season opening Australian Grand Prix. The Spaniard underwent another medical check following first practice in Shanghai and was then cleared to compete in the rest of the event, albeit with the stipulation that if 'any abnormal symptoms' are experienced, he must stop the car immediately.
“Yeah I felt good, obviously I missed the car a lot in the last 26 days and yeah I'm happy to be back. Even if we are not competitive I love to be in the car and racing,” said the McLaren-Honda pilot.
“Still in a little bit of pain because it has not completely recovered, there is still a little bit of fracturing and also it's a circuit with a lot of very long right corners, so that's not a good combination.
“It's normal but it's a pain that you can manage in the race I guess and now today it was important to try both of the compounds and the tyres a little bit because we have forecast of rain tomorrow and for qualifying so this was the only chance to test the tyres for the race on Sunday, so we maximise the programme and we are happy with the results but we need to find a little bit more performance in the car.”
Alonso was 12th quickest in the morning, before ending the day 11th, one tenth up on team-mate Jenson Button in the sister car.
Asked what he learned and what they will need to do on Saturday, he replied: “Well right now we need to concentrate on the dry balance, we were not completely happy with the balance, we missed a little bit of traction and rear end grip so looking at the race we need to improve the performance of the car if we want to be a little more competitive.
“The qualifying, if it's wet at the end I think it's a little bit of a question mark as it will be the first wet session for everybody in this 2016 world championship. We try to do our best but I think we need to focus a little bit more on Sunday performance.”
Meanwhile, Alonso added that the checks after FP1 were all routine stuff: “Yesterday was more about the scans that I did in Europe, they needed to see the images and check inside your body how the situation is.
“Today was just more of a normal check, where they can check your blood pressure, your capacity to breathe and after being in the car to check that everything is normal in terms of breathing and pressure. It was a five minute check to make sure that the body is still responding well.”