Alonso stressed out by SQ3 but ‘extremely happy’ with P3

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Fernando Alonso admitted to enduring a stressful Sprint qualifying session at the Chinese GP, but the Aston Martin driver was ultimately “extremely happy” with his top-three result.

Alonso diligently maneuvered through the first two segments of Sprint qualifying to earn his spot in the final shootout, but a bout of rain coupled with the use of the intermediate tyre offered the prospect of a tricky SQ3.

In the end however, the Spaniard navigated his way to third, just behind poleman Lando Norris and runner-up Lewis Hamilton, but ahead of reigning world champion Max Verstappen and both Ferraris.

Asked how the session had unfolded, Alonso said: “Quite stressful, to be honest! I mean in SQ1 we were just looking at the [weather] radar and the threat of rain was there since the first minute.

“We made some progress in SQ1 and then [reached] SQ2 just, because we were P8 or P9. We were not super competitive in the dry, and then it rained at the end in SQ3 and every lap was a little bit different conditions.

“The tyres were a bit better every lap but the circuit was a little bit worse with more rain, so it was difficult to judge the level of grip and the level of risk that you wanted to apply. At the end, I’m extremely happy.”

Looking ahead to Saturday’s proceedings, Alonso admitted to lacking clarity regarding his true position in the pecking order.

In Friday’s single practice, the two-time world champion ended up a lowly P19 after spending the 60-minute session on the hard tyre working on his car’s set-up while his Aston teammate rocketed to P1.

"We don't really have a clear idea yet [of where we are], but we will find out tomorrow,” he said.

“We have a lot of racing laps now in the weekend with the sprint race and obviously the main race on Sunday, so let's see if we can qualify well tomorrow."

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