Fernando Alonso believes that 11th on the grid is the best place he could have hoped to start Sunday’s Mexican Grand Prix (NBC, NBC Sports app from 2:30pm ET).
The high-speed nature of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City has hindered McLaren, which continues to struggle with the power deficit of its Honda engine.
Alonso expressed his delight with 11th after qualifying on Saturday, pleased that he would be starting so high up the order and on the clean side of the grid with a free choice of tire for the first stint.
“I think 11th place was probably the best possible position we could dream of today in terms of race strategy, as we’ll have free choice of tires for the race start and we’ll be on the clean side of the track,” Alonso said.
“So you could say that many things went our way. Unfortunately, however, we aren’t quick enough here.
“A few races ago we were routinely making it into Q3 and then fighting for seventh or eighth position, which is good, but here we’re fighting for ninth or 10th position – so, that being the case, we’d rather be in 11th position.
“But, that’s a side-issue really: more important is that we need to understand why we’re slightly struggling for pace here.
“Tire degradation, which will be the key factor, has been different from team to team, from set to set and also from day to day, so I think we’ll all be going into a slightly unknown situation.
“So we’ll need to be very flexible and open to strategies, and then we’ll see what we can do.”