Fernando Alonso says he takes a small victory from achieving McLaren-Honda's first Q3 berth since 2014 after qualifying tenth for the Spanish Grand Prix.
Having come increasingly close to reaching the top ten in the opening rounds, Alonso finally cracked McLaren's Q3 curse around the Circuit de Catalunya, ending a drought that has stretched back to 2014 when the team used Mercedes engines.
Though he could only turn that into tenth position on the grid – in turn limiting his tyre options compared with starting 11th or 12th -, Alonso was nonetheless pleased with another small step towards 'normality'.
“It is the first qualifying in a long time I haven't watched on TV, so it is nice to be part of the show. We keep progressing as a team and now first time in Q3 with no big incidents happening is good news for us. Let's enjoy it a bit now, but now we need to think about tomorrow.
“We don't have free choice of tyres, which is a bit of a handicap that we need to recover somewhere. We should think about moving forward but typically in Barcelona it is about the start and the pit-stops.
“It is a step, it is a barrier you need to go through one day and today was the day. It should be a normal thing to be in Q3 and then the points on Saturday, it is the normality we are trying to find and it seems to be coming close.”