Alonso expects to reach Q3 despite power unit change

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Fernando Alonso expects to reach Q3 for the Hungarian Grand Prix despite having to take an unscheduled power unit change during Friday practice.

After the end of FP1, Honda noticed "an anomaly" in the data on Alonso's power unit and took the opportunity between sessions to change the whole power unit. Making a like-for-like change, the only difference is the age of the engine as the replacement power unit has already completed four races.

Despite missing the start of the session due to the change, Alonso finished FP2 in seventh place - the same as in FP1 - and believes a top ten qualifying performance is on the cards for McLaren.

"The first session went rather well, there were no issues, but while we were in the technical meeting a Honda engineer came up to tell us it would be better to change the power unit," Alonso said. "So they put back the one I used in Austria and Azerbaijan, and it ran with no problems in FP2, so it will stay in the car for tomorrow.

"Of course it’s bad news to have to change a Power Unit that has done just one Grand Prix, in Silverstone, but it’s not a step backward, it’s something normal.

"We were 7th today but we’ll have to see how it goes. We were up there in Silverstone and just made into Q3 to qualify 10th.  I think we’ll be in the battle to get into Q3 and hopefully we’ll be in the top ten as that should give us an advantage in the race.

"Let’s see what happens tomorrow, as others do improve a lot when they get full use of their engines in qualifying, especially the Mercedes. Here the engine counts a bit less, so hopefully they won’t have that much of an advantage and we’ll be able to stay up there.

"We’ve been four times into Q3 over the last five races – only in Azerbaijan we missed out – so I expect tomorrow we’ll get in there too. Given it’s very tough to overtake here, it would be really important to start as far up the grid as possible, and I’m optimistic we’ll achieve that."

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