Fernando Alonso feels McLaren has made "a clear step forward" after getting both cars into the final stage of Formula 1 qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix on Saturday, but did question just how good the updated parts of his MCL32 car are.

Alonso finished a solid fifth in FP2 on Friday after putting some aerodynamic updates for his McLaren to good use, but could only qualify P10 in Saturday's session, finishing one-tenth of a second slower than teammate Stoffel Vandoorne, who was running with the old package.

Alonso was pleased with the progress McLaren had made, but is still skeptical of the team's chances of scoring points in Malaysia given the power-hungry nature of the Sepang circuit.

"I’m happy how the whole weekend has gone, the performance has been good and to get both cars into Q3 is a clear step forward," Alonso said.

"It’s been a good weekend for us but it will be difficult to get points in the dry. Mixed conditions we’ll help us, we have nothing to lose but we were also quick in the dry so we’ll try to defend our position if it doesn’t rain.

"Between sixth and 14th is very close, so it will be tough for us. We need to be ready for everything. In the dry if we stay in the points it will be a step forward, but Sebastian [Vettel] will come though so it will be difficult to stay in the top ten."

Alonso admitted he needed to take back both his own and the team's praise about the impact of the new package, before calling on McLaren to get to the bottom of why it did not work in qualifying.

"Yesterday we made very clear, very public, the new parts were working very well but today they didn’t, so maybe we need to go back on what we said," Alonso said.

"We need to analyse it calmly and not make too many comments when we have new parts in the car."

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