Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne were both unable to get past Q3 at the Circuit Paul Ricard in France, recording their worst qualifying of the season and Alonso feels it is down to updates or the lack of it.
“I think it is the same car for the last three or four Grands Prix. So we are slipping back and every race seems less and less competitive. The car was working but we were slow”, was his explanation.
“It was nothing wrong with the balance, I felt ok with all the laps. The timed lap was not quick enough to be in Q2, so that was a disappointing day”, he added.
Alonso said that the team did not have high expectations but was still positive about getting past the first qualifying session. “This morning at the meeting, the team said we are between P14 and P15. Ok, we are P16 but it’s not that we had expectations to be on pole”, he shot back.
“We know where we are and unfortunately we need to keep improving a lot. We were P15 in Canada, we were on the borderline already. Here we are one step back.”
He was obviously disappointed but appeared to remain positive of McLaren’s chances in the main race. “In Canada with performance and that car, we were on the points until we had that exhaust pipe on Sunday”, Alonso commented.
“Saturdays has been a little bit down for us and Sundays up so tomorrow hopefully is one of those Sundays.”
He had a small plea for the drivers ahead of the McLarens. “I think we need some help from the front runners to recover places. So far we’ve been in the points every single race. Only two retirements stopped us so hopefully tomorrow we can be in that position again.”
Qualifying was less than satisfactory for the McLaren team but as the veteran Spaniard said, the team’s race performances do evoke a certain confidence. Both drivers will certainly be looking to capitalize on the slightest of mistakes from the front-runners.