Fernando Alonso says he did not expect to see himself and Jenson Button complete the first day of Italian Grand Prix free practice action inside the top ten as McLaren-Honda appeared to confirm the steps made by its upgraded engine.

With McLaren predicting it would struggle on the high-speed stretches of Monza with its comparatively underpowered Honda engine, Alonso exceeded expectations by ending FP2 seventh fastest, with Jenson Button in tenth.

ITALIAN GRAND PRIX - Free practice results (2)

One of the team's most competitive starts to a weekend, Alonso admits he was surprised by the result but again dismissed the idea that he can crack the top ten in qualifying when utilise their so-called 'qualifying mode' engines.

"A few interesting things between the two cars, prototype parts as well because we need to evaluate for the future. Reasonably happy with the performance. We didn't expect to have two cars in the top ten in Monza, but we need to keep our feet on the ground because in qualifying we slip a bit in power. Hopefully we can get close to Q3 but I think if we are in Q3 it would be a surprise because we don't expect to be so."

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Coming a few days after the two-time world champion endured several reliability problems, only to finish seventh from 21st on the grid, with more gremlins surfacing during FP1 and FP2 Alonso admits it is an area it needs to keep improving on.

"Not the perfect reliability, still some problems here and there but nothing really bit.A few unlucky situations even some things from Spa problems, nothing [like] we need to change the design of the parts or anything. We need to take care of every single detail because we know we can lose some points now."

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