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F1 Malaysian GP: Alonso shows McLaren pace ahead of ‘short’ qualifying

Fernando Alonso cracks the top five in free practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix but he will barely participate in qualifying.
RESULTS: Malaysian Grand Prix – Free Practice Results (2)

Fernando Alonso believes that team-mate Jenson Button can make it into Q3 tomorrow based on his own quick pace in free practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix, even if qualifying will be 'very short' for him personally.

While Button will be fighting to make his fourth appearance in Q3 this year, Alonso will head into qualifying preparing for a 30-place grid penalty by virtue of an upgraded Honda power unit fitted pre-event.

As such, Alonso will complete just a single lap to achieve the necessary 107 per cent time as dictated by the rules before sitting out the remainder of the session. Even so, he is confident run to fifth and seventh in FP1 is indicative of what can be achieved by Button.

REVEALED: The new 2017 Formula 1 World Championship

“Qualifying will be very short for me,” Alonso said. “I'll do just one timed lap, to get within 107 per cent of the pole time and then I'll watch the rest of the action on TV! Then I'll save as many new tyres as possible for the race to attack from start to finish.”

Alonso completed a total of 45 laps and finished in the top ten during Friday's practice sessions, which left him confident for the rest of the weekend.

As a question mark always surrounds the weather at the Malaysian GP, the two-time world champion expects rain at some point throughout the weekend which he thinks may shake up the grid to work in his favour.

“We managed to complete a good number of laps and do all the tests we had planned for today, including some parts already for next year's car, so it was a very good day in that way.

“I think with Jenson the team can fight for Q3. Hopefully I can join him in the points at the end of the race.

“We are expecting rain, I don't know if it will come for qualifying or for the race, but whenever it comes it will help us. So there's all to play for, today was a good day, because we did a lot of laps and the things we tried worked well.”

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