Alonso downplays McLaren chances in China

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Fernando Alonso does not expect McLaren-Honda to make significant headway during this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix, although the two-time world champion remains upbeat about his team’s overall progress.

Having fully recovered from his pre-season crash, the Spaniard returned to the cockpit of his MP4-30 in Malaysia.

But neither he nor team-mate Jenson Button could finish the race at Sepang after both succumbed to a power unit issue.

Following what had a been a very challenging season-opening round in Melbourne, McLaren and engine partner Honda were nonetheless pleased to see their drivers close the gap to the cars ahead.

However, Alonso does not think the Woking-based outfit will be able to repeat similar progress in China, partly because of cooler track conditions.

“I don’t think our car package will be as well suited here as it was in Malaysia, especially if the weather is as cold and windy as it usually is in early springtime in Shanghai,” said the 33-year-old McLaren returnee.

A two-time winner at Shanghai International Circuit (2005, 2013), Alonso still takes satisfaction from his team’s hard work since the season’s kick off and hopes he and Button can race some of their rivals on Sunday.

“The steps we took between Australia and Malaysia were extremely impressive: it was a great feeling to be able to mix it with other cars and drivers, and I hope we can do more of the same in China this weekend.”

Click here for an interesting take on putting new drivers in third cars. 

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