Fernando Alonso has accepted McLaren’s high hopes for the Monaco Grand Prix weekend were “a bit optimistic” following Formula 1 qualifying on Saturday.
While Alonso got through to Q3 for the second straight race, he could only finish the decisive session 10th fastest, which becomes ninth on the grid thanks to a penalty for Kimi Raikkonen.
McLaren had hoped the lack of dependence on engine performance in Monaco would allow it to get much closer to the frontrunners, but it has shown no signs of being able to live up to that target so far this weekend.
When asked if fighting higher up the field was a bit optimistic, Alonso said: “Perhaps a little bit, yeah – you don’t know until you put the car on the track.
“Our predictions were a bit optimistic, but let’s see if we can end on a high with some points. We had no specific targets but we were bit more optimistic than 10th, maybe P7, P8.
“We didn’t have the pace all weekend, we struggled on Thursday too, lacking confidence on the front of the car. We expected a bit more here in Monaco with the low power.”
Like many drivers, Alonso is hoping predictions of rain for the race come to fruition.
“Anything that can happen will help – we want a little bit of action,” he said. “If not it’ll be a train of cars with the first corner dictating the positions. Rain, snow – anything really. Something to happen high up.
“We have nothing to lose. We need to attack and in races like this we have a good opportunity.”
BUTTON: WE HAVEN’T DELIVERED
Teammate Jenson Button failed to make it out of Q2, also struggling with the performance of the McLaren.
“In Q1 the car felt good, then when things warmed up the grip sort of went,” said the 2009 world champion. “Fernando’s 10th, but still, we expected to be a lot higher up.
“The very clever people will be looking at why we’re not there. We haven’t delivered – my side of the garage just wasn’t quick enough in Q2.
“It didn’t feel quick, either. Just didn’t have the balance right.”