Alonso hails ‘perfect’ P11 in Singapore GP qualifying
Fernando Alonso says starting the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix from 11th on the grid – meaning he will have free-tyre choice for Sunday’s race – is “perfect”.
The Spaniard turned in a strong performance in qualifying and narrowly missed out on a spot in Q3, having been pipped by his McLaren-bound replacement Carlos Sainz by just 0.107s.
While he was unable to progress into the top 10 shootout, Alonso was thrilled to secure the 11th fastest time because it means he is first driver not to be restricted to which tyres he can start the race on.
“It felt good,” Alonso said. “From our side we’ve been competitive the whole weekend, and as I said yesterday we were going to be in the battle for Q3.
“I wanted to start from the clean side of the track, so P11 is perfect. I’ll have Carlos alongside, as is usual, so hopefully we’ll both move forward and score good points for us.
“We have the possibility to choose the tyres for the start, so that’s an extra help to try and pass the two or three cars that will start ahead of us.”
The McLaren driver believes his qualifying position will prove key on Sunday, as it enables him to avoid running on the Hypersoft tyre, which he reckons will give him an advantage over those directly ahead of him on the grid and provide his best opportunity to secure points.
“It was important to avoid the Hypersoft for the race, but of course you always want to be in Q3. But if you’re tenth on the grid having to start with the Hypersofts then you know you’re in for a difficult Sunday,” he explained.
“The Hypersoft gives you around 2.5s advantage in qualifying but suffers from very high degradation in the long runs and has a lot of graining. If you have to stop early and return to the track in traffic then your race is basically done.
“They will have to manage the degradation of the Hypersofts and I’m hoping we can make much longer runs with a harder compound. Nevertheless it’s going to be a very tight battle for the points, complicated.”
Teammate Stoffel Vandoorne endured a scruffy session as he failed to make it out of Q1 with the 18th-quickest time.
“My last run on the new tyres was extremely messy from my side,” the Belgian admitted. “I touched the wall about four times I think. We should definitely have been in Q2 as that was when the track was at its best.
“It’s a shame because the pace was there to progress. I think the car is okay so that’s good.
“I tried to squeeze everything out of the car. When you do a bit too much and you overheat the tyres, the lap-time doesn’t come towards you. It’s all about qualifying here.”
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September 15, 2018 at 07:03PM