Fernando Alonso was pleased with his pace during Formula 1 practice for the United States Grand Prix on Friday despite being forced to scrap a development programme in FP1 due to a hydraulic problem on his McLaren car.

Alonso was limited to just four laps in FP1 after an issue emerged on his McLaren-Honda MCL32 car early in the session, preventing the Spaniard from testing a number of new parts intended to aid the team's performance in both 2017 and 2018.

McLaren was able to resolve the issue ahead of second practice in the afternoon, with Alonso rallying to finish the day seventh-fastest and as the leading midfield driver.

"We lost the first session this morning because of a hydraulic issue, which was quite painful because we had several items to test, including for next year," Alonso said.

"We tried to catch up in the second session but it was difficult, so I think we’ll try them again in Mexico.

“I believe there’s still quite a bit to get out of the car – still some tenths to find, which I think probably everyone will find."

Alonso is upbeat of his chances of a good starting position as he is not poised to take any grid penalties, while the likes of Max Verstappen, Nico Hulkenberg and Stoffel Vandoorne are all confirmed to face drops.

“We know Verstappen and Hulkenberg have penalties, so if we manage to get into Q3 tomorrow, we’ll be able to start from an even better position. But if we don’t make it into Q3, and we can start eighth or ninth on new tyres, it could be very good too," Alonso said.

“It’s nice to drive on this track with this year’s cars. It’s much more fun, especially through the fast corners in the first sector.

"There are many more bumps than last year, so we’re holding tight on the steering wheel and with the seatbelt tightly fastened. But it’s fun!”


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