Italian GP: Qualifying notes - McLaren


Fernando Alonso will line up 12th and Jenson Button 14th for tomorrow's Italian Grand Prix. Despite showing impressive pace throughout the practice sessions, neither driver was able to progress beyond Q2, but both gained one position owing to a gearbox grid penalty for Romain Grosjean.

Fernando Alonso: "This was probably about where we expected to qualify. We went very well in practice yesterday, so I think we were brought back to reality this afternoon. Q1 was hard for us, and we went for a single new-tyre lap in Q2 and pushed to the maximum, so we have to be happy with ourselves.

"We always expected Monza to be hard for our package, but it's still a bit disappointing to be fighting against a Manor. We'll study the strategy overnight, but we've got the choice of starting tyre, so will try and take full advantage of everything tomorrow."

Jenson Button: "This was always going to be a tough weekend for us, but I thought today might have been a little bit better. It didn't go quite as well as we might have hoped: I didn't do a perfect lap - I drove some better laps through practice - and Fernando pulled out a little bit on me in Q2.

"But we'll make it good tomorrow. I still think we can race better than we qualified - that's been a strength of ours for the past few races - and our starts have been good recently, so hopefully we'll push forwards during the race."

Eric Boullier, McLaren-Honda Racing Director: "We always knew that qualifying at Formula 1's fastest circuit would be difficult for us, but it nonetheless feels disappointing not to have been able to mount a stronger challenge to move into Q3.

"Still, we know that we're more than capable of mounting a stronger challenge in the race - and, with freedom of choice over our starting tyre, we'll be looking to make progress both on track and in the pit-lane. We're hopeful of a better result tomorrow."

Yusuke Hasegawa, Honda R&D Co Ltd Head of F1 Project & Executive Chief Engineer: "We knew coming into Monza that this would be a difficult race weekend for us, but finishing in P13 for Fernando and P15 for Jenson in qualifying is still a little disappointing.

"Both McLaren-Honda drivers drove well today, both in FP3 and qualifying. However, the gruelling fast circuit did not help, and we were out-paced on the straights, which led to a larger than usual gap to the frontrunners.

"As with most tracks, the long-run stability of our cars should help us to do better in the race than in qualifying, and we also have the option to choose the best tyres to start the race, so we will strategise tonight with the team to aim for points in tomorrow's race."

Check out our Saturday gallery from Monza, here.

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Published: 03/09/2016
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