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Fernando Alonso was glad to give McLaren a brief return to the top of the timesheets during the first stage of Formula 1 qualifying for the British Grand Prix on Saturday, even if he will start the race from the back of the pack due to grid penalties.

Alonso rolled the dice on slick tyres while the rest of the pack was running on intermediates at the end of Q1, crossing the line with just two-tenths of a second to spare before completing a lap that gave him P1 overall.

While the Spaniard could only qualify 13th overall, he was glad to give McLaren a brief taste of the headline times once again.

"I saw the reaction of the people at the end of Q1, it was nice the grandstands happy for that moment," Alonso said.

"I think the guys in the garage deserved it as well, they've been working so hard this last couple of years, changing many components and, unfortunately, working very hard.

"So, even if it's just for one moment, to be up there I think it's good."

Starting from the back of the grid after taking new power unit parts, Alonso is hoping for changeable conditions similar to qualifying.

"We proved today that in mixed conditions we are quite competitive, so a wet-dry, wet-dry chaotic race could play in our favour, so we will try to do our best," Alonso said.

"I need mixed conditions, I need 25 pit stops for the others to change tyres very often! And if do 23 stops then you recover a lot of places..."

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