Fernando Alonso said McLaren’s decision to use Friday as a test session was the reason both drivers failed to set headline-grabbing times during Formula 1 German Grand Prix practice. 

McLaren utilised both of Friday’s free practice sessions at Hockenheim to carry out a series of aerodynamic and set-up tests in a bid to improve the performance of its MCL33 following a difficult start to the new season. 

As a result, Alonso could only manage the 12th-fastest time in FP1, before dropping down towards the lower reaches of the order in FP2 as he finished 17th. 

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“We did test a lot of things and we were probably compromised because of those tests in the final results,” the Spaniard explained. 

“In the last couple of races we were quite high on Friday and in 0.2-0.3s tenths you can lose or gain a lot of positions. On Friday this time we are in the low part so hopefully that changes on Saturday.”

Vandoorne, who propped up the timesheets in both sessions, said he learned very little from his programme but hopes McLaren’s call will prove beneficial as the weekend progresses. 

"It’s hard to tell because we were a little bit speed-limited this morning in FP1,” he added. 

“Limited mileage and not really learning for myself, really doing the learning for the team and hopefully for them its been beneficial today to understand for the future.”

Rain showers are predicted for Saturday in Hockenheim and Alonso reckons a change in weather conditions could play into McLaren’s hands. 

“If that happens it opens a big opportunity for the midfield group, you can gamble a little bit more,” he said. 

“It can be very good or it can be very bad but when you are not fighting for the championship it normally give you an opportunity.”

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