Fernando Alonso says McLaren-Honda faces a task to get its cars into the final phase of qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix, despite a positive start to the weekend at the Circuit de Catalunya.
The former champion ended the day seventh quickest in the MP4-31, raising hopes McLaren could finally end a 'losing streak' that hasn't seen it reach Q3 since 2014 this weekend.
However, though Alonso is pleased with the result if not the balance, he fears rivals will – as in previous races – 'turn it up' for qualifying and force the team back down the order.
“It was a good day but for sure we have to improve some things for tomorrow, especially to find rear end grip as we're not too happy with that area of the car right now,” he . There's room for improvement, for sure, we need to analyse all the things we tried today, both Jenson and I, study all the date we gathered and chose the best solutions for both cars.
I think we are in the same position as in Russia. It looks like we're inside the top ten, in P8 or P9, but it's all very tight. But in qualifying, for one reason or another the others always get more out of their Power Units, they have a different engine mapping for just one lap and we don't, so they get away from us.
“Here the engine doesn't count as much as in other tracks, so I hope those mappings won't give them too much lap time…”