Qualifying was just more race preparation – Alonso

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Fernando Alonso says McLaren-Honda only used qualifying to further prepare for Sunday’s Mexican Grand Prix in the wake of its engine grid penalties.

With both the Spaniard and team-mate Jenson Button condemned to start the race from the back at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, the British team elected not to run its MP4-30 in qualifying trim.

Their decision was reinforced following Button’s series of power unit reliability issues, which led the 2009 world champion to miss out the afternoon session altogether.

“We knew we’d start on the last row, and there was no time to get Jenson’s car ready and for me the plan was to do just one lap to check the car,” said Alonso, who was eventually knocked out of Q1 after logging the 16th fastest time.

“We worked just in race configuration, I did the whole morning with a lot of fuel on board to get a feel for the tyres.”

Although Alonso braced for yet another tough grand prix weekend in Mexico, he and Button have been able to show flashes of promising pace with their upgraded Honda power units, like finishing eighth and ninth respectively in FP2.

But no matter how upbeat the double world champion remains in the face of hardship, he is equally realistic about his chances to secure a third points finish this year.

“It will be fun to start from the back and try to gain places, the weather could be interesting with rain. Let’s hope for that so we can recover as many places as possible."

“We knew this track would be the toughest for the engine, for the height and for the characteristics of our car too. But tomorrow with the rain we may have a bit of a crazy race and we can make up for that.

“Let’s hope for that and that we can score some points. The more chaos we have, the better for us.”

REPORT: Rosberg beats Hamilton to Mexican GP pole

AS IT HAPPENED: Mexican Grand Prix - Qualifying

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