Tough quali, damage limitation tomorrow - Alonso

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Fernando Alonso succeeded in getting into Q3 for the sixth time this season, and will line up 9th on tomorrow's Singapore Grand Prix grid.

The Spaniard, who like Jenson Button endured a difficult series of free practice sessions, put in a consistent effort, although he did end up some 2 seconds adrift of the leading Mercedes, which  underlined once again the performance gap which McLaren-Honda remains confronted with.

"On the face of it, I’m pleased, said Alonso.

"But it was tough. Our pace still wasn’t great today and we struggled a little – in fact, good pace hasn’t come too easily to us this weekend.

"We saw one car going out and then in Q3 just ninth but it’s the way it is. Getting into Q3 was our first objective, but our next is to be competitive in the race."

Sandwiched on the grid between the Force India, and with a competitive pair of Toro Rosso's up front, Alonso believes he will have his work cut out for him tomorrow evening. But the following races should provide McLaren with more opportunities to move up the field.

"Toro Rosso is surprisingly good here, or let’s say they have a car that is good for a street circuit, with a lot of down force, a lot of drag but we know that after this track we should be in front of them regularly.

"We are still aiming to be the fourth quickest team for the rest of season and tomorrow hopefully finish in front of them. It’s damage limitation tomorrow in terms of constructor points and attack from Malaysia on."

"We have to be optimistic, always things happen in Singapore. There is a lot of action in the race, a lot of safety cars, a lot of incidents so we have to be ready to be flexible in terms of our strategy.

"But I think the start and the first couple of laps and the pit stop time will be crucial so we need to study well tonight."

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