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Fernando Alonso says even he is surprised to have secured a spot on the fourth row for the Spanish Grand Prix after defying expectations with a magnificent qualifying performance on home soil.

Coming into the Barcelona weekend with a best starting position of 13th on the grid so far this season, Alonso admits he had modest expectations at the Circuit de Catalunya after having his mileage limited by yet more high profile technical issues with his Honda-powered McLaren MCL32 on Friday

However, after making headlines by sneaking into Q3 for the first time this season he went on to thrill his dedicated supporters further by taking the MCL32 all the way to seventh position behind only the dominant Mercedes'. Ferraris and Red Bulls.

Praising the quality of the upgrades introduced for this weekend, Alonso was thrilled to reward his McLaren team with a strong result having watched them 'change power units every day' in recent races.

"I think yesterday we saw the car had some potential, the upgrades were working OK so I remained optimistic, maybe not as optimistic as seventh. It is one of those days where everything goes right and meets the expectations higher than anybody expected. Today we put everything together,

"We built the speed from Q1, 1m22.0s to 1m 21.0s, that second is just getting confidence and risking more without a bad surprise from the car. Thanks to the team, they have been working very hard, changing a lot of power units every day basically so to be in Q3 and P7 we feel we are in the positions we should be is a nice motivation and boost for the team as well."

Looking ahead to the race, Alonso says he is setting his sights firmly on getting his first points of the season on the board but is wary of reliability and the decision to increase DRS zones in an effort to promote more overtaking.

"They extended the DRS today! It is a track that it is very difficult to follow so if we can keep this position I think points are a real possibility.

"Hopefully we improve the situation - not only the performance side and the reliability because sometimes we could take some points in the past but we had to stop the car. Hopefully that is not the case tomorrow and we take some points home."

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