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Alonso admits P13 the "maximum" for McLaren

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Alonso admits P13 the "maximum" for McLaren
By:
Apr 14, 2018, 7:30 AM

Fernando Alonso says 13th position was the "maximum" his McLaren Formula 1 team could have hoped for in qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix.

Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL33
Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren MCL33 and Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL33
Fans of Fernando Alonso, McLaren
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL33
Sparks fly from the car of Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL33 Renault
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL33

The Spanish driver had admitted on Friday that it would be difficult for the team to make it into Q3, but was hoping for 11th place in order to be the top driver able to choose tyres for the race freely.

While Alonso expects those starting on ultrasoft tyres to struggle quickly in the race, he conceded McLaren needs to find more speed.

"We were trying for P11, which would have been ideal, starting first outside of Q3 to choose tyres, but it wasn't possible. P13 was the maximum," said Alonso after qualifying.

"We'll try to score points tomorrow. I think we are in a good position.

"The last two or three cars in Q3 will struggle because they will have to stop early with the purple tyres. We still need to find more speed, as we said in Bahrain.

"In equal conditions we are P13 so we have to improve, that's clear."

Alonso and teammate Stoffel Vandoorne gave each other tows during Q3 in order to boost their top speed, the Spaniard getting it near the end of the session thanks to being the quicker of the two in Q1.

"In Q1 we were deciding who would give the tow to the other," Alonso explained. "I finished ahead in Q1 so we decided I'd give Stoffel a tow in the first run and then he would give it to me.

"I guess it wasn't on TV when I gave it to him because they never show that, but when he gives it to me, they do show it.

"We tried to gain a few tenths there, but there's still a long way to go. We knew it was very few days from Bahrain to here so let's see if in the next one we can be in Q3 in normal circumstances."

The McLaren driver suggested he will opt for a one-stop strategy tomorrow, although he expects tyre degradation to be an issue.

"It's on the limit between one and two. I think all those in Q3 with the purple ones will stop twice and those outside of it maybe have the advantage of stopping once," he said.

"But there'll be tyre problems tomorrow and it's going to be a race of managing them as best as possible."

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