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F1 Russian GP: Alonso: McLaren more competitive despite lowly 14th

Fernando Alonso plays down his 14th place starting position for the Russian Grand Prix, saying the McLaren-Honda is more competitive than ever.
Fernando Alonso says he remains convinced McLaren-Honda is becoming increasingly competitive ahead of the Russian Grand Prix, but is losing out in a tight mid-field pack when it matters in qualifying.

The two-time world champion had hoped to lift McLaren into Q3 for the first time since 2014 in Sochi, but admitted prior to qualifying that free practice pace didn't always translate because rivals are able to turn up their power units for a quick single lap.

And so it proved, Alonso in the mix but left 14th on the grid, while team-mate Jenson Button starts in 12th place. Nevertheless, the Spaniard is keen to point he was simply on the wrong side of a slim gap covering the mid-field pack fighting over the bottom end of the top ten.

“Q3 was a target rather than a hope and it is a hope for those coming races to get close to that target. I think we have been more competitive this weekend. We are a tenth and a half from Q3 and P10, the unfortunate situation is we are not 11th or 12th, we are P14

“We are definitely [seeing progress]. I think we have been more competitive this weekend. Unfortunately in qualifying it was very tight and two tenths can mean Q3 or 14th and we are the 14th guy.

Indeed, Alonso believes points are in McLaren's sights for race day around the Sochi Autodrom, but admits it may take some fallibility from cars ahead to help the team out a bit.

“We are definitely more competitive race after race and I think the points will be a possibility. We have been a bit unlucky with some retirements. The race we took some points [Bahrain] from the top guys so we took advantage. In China we were competitive but 22 cars finished the race so we need some help in the race.”
by Ollie Barstow



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
30.04.2016 - Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31
30.04.2016 - Fabrizio Borra (ITA), physiotherapist of Fernando Alonso (ESP) and Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31
29.04.2016 - Free Practice 2, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31
Fernando Alonso - McLaren-Honda
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Lando Norris, McLaren Autosport BRDC Awards [Credit: Martyn Pass PR]
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Pirelli 2017 tyre test [Credit: Pirelli]
27.11.2016 - Race, Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C34 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Jolyon Palmer (GBR) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16 and Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Start of the race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31 off trach and Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB12 spins
27.11.2016 - Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW38 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31 and his girlfriend Brittny Ward (USA)

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mytyresaregoingoff

April 30, 2016 3:33 PM

It is now taking too long for a top team like McLaren to bounce back. I fully appreciate the last two years were written off to development but by now Honda and McLaren should be getting it right. I'm not saying that they should be taking it to Mercedes but they should be pushing in to top 5 regularly. There is something intrinsically wrong with their long term strategic thinking or they are getting cash strapped and trying to look like a top team on a Sauber budget. Time will tell.

drfoggy

April 30, 2016 3:58 PM

mytyresaregoingoff: It is now taking too long for a top team like McLaren to bounce back. I fully appreciate the last two years were written off to development but by now Honda and McLaren should be getting it right. I'm not saying that they should be taking it to Mercedes but they should be pushing in to top 5 regularly. There is something intrinsically wrong with their long term strategic thinking or they are getting cash strapped and trying to look like a top team on a Sauber budget. Time will tell.
you cant test & you have massively limited opportunities to develop the power unit even during the close season - how do you expect any team to move up the grid with those circumstances? - its not pure racing any more and the current rules only really suit mercedes and ferrari



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