Fernando Alonso does not think he could have qualified his McLaren-Honda higher than fifteenth, even if the Spaniard did not have to serve a 25-place grid penalty during tomorrow’s Austrian Grand Prix.
Despite his MP4-30 sporting a shorter nose cone at the Red Bull Ring, the double-world champion only just made it into Q2, and had to settle for P15 again in the second phase of qualifying.
While Alonso admits a better result was out of reach, the 33-year old insists the updates McLaren brought to Spielberg are promising
“P14 is four tenths ahead of us, so that’s a little bit too much,” said Alonso. “The car performed quite well with the new aero package, it seems that we’ve made an improvement.
“(The shorter nose) felt good, the car felt more competitive this weekend in the corners. Unfortunately, it’s a very high power effect circuit so we cannot maximise the new aero package, but I think we’re moving in the right direction.
“But on the other side, we had a lot of problems with reliability, we nearly stopped in all the sessions.”
Alonso will eventually start tomorrow’s race from 19th but will have to serve the remainder of his grid penalty by serving a drive-though on the opening laps. Although the ex-Ferrari racer confesses this is a frustrating situation, he remains adamant gathering on-track data will prove useful in boosting his team’s future prospects.
“With this kind of rules and penalties, there is temptation to finish the race on Lap 1 because you save the engine for the next race. You’re last and you’re 30 seconds behind the Manors on Lap 3, so that’s a little a bit painful.
“But it’s not in our DNA and we’re already short on mileage with this year’s car. So hopefully tomorrow we can finish the race with both cars and have a lot of data to analyse for next week’s test.”
Click here for the gallery of the Formula Una girls at the Austrian Grand Prix