Fernando Alonso is confident McLaren will be celebrating points in the Chinese Grand Prix despite being denied the opportunity to challenge for the top ten in qualifying following a late red flag in Q2.
Returning to action this weekend after a rib injury forced him to miss the Bahrain Grand Prix, Alonso was priming himself for a final run at getting into Q3, only for a late red flag to deny him.
Believing the McLaren-Honda to have a package capable of reaching the top ten, Alonso – who aired his frustration on the team radio - was frustrated to be denied the chance to show what it is capable of.
“I think both McLarens, we had the pace in qualifying. We were saving tyres until this moment, we were saving the engine until this moment, so we had a lot of potential in the car and we didn't use it today.
“It was massively frustrating. It was the same for some cars I guess because there are some fast cars out of Q3 but it is the way it is and on the positive side we have free tyre choice on the tyres tomorrow and hopefully we can maximise that.”
Qualifying 12th – which becomes 11th after Nico Hulkenberg's penalty – Alonso has high hopes of at least racing inside the top ten.
“We have the potential here,” he continued. “If we have the reliability 100 per cent behind us we aim for that, I think we have the chance. Some fast cars are behind us, so we have to be careful on that because they will be a threat. I think tomorrow if it goes OK it should be the first points for us.”