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Alonso upbeat after Austria qualifying, P12 ‘maximum’ result

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Fernando Alonso felt upbeat about McLaren’s display during Formula 1 qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix on Saturday after qualifying 12th and only narrowly missing out on a place in Q3.

Alonso entered qualifying on the back foot after being forced to give up his upgraded ‘Spec 3’ Honda power unit after a problem was discovered overnight with the MGU-H.

Alonso was able to take P12 in qualifying on Saturday despite complaining about a lack of power towards the end of Q1, and only finished six-hundredths of a second off a Q3 spot.

“I think it was good. I was happy with the laps and the performance,” Alonso told NBCSN after the session.

“The car has felt good all weekend. This was the maximum we could achieve today. We need to wait and see.

“The team are doing their best to improve the situation. We’ve got the aerodynamic updates and spec for engine better. Now we’re a touch off Q3. It’s a positive note.

“We need to improve the reliability still. I think we’re in a position to do so. Starting P12, we’re close, with a good start or good strategy, we’re close.”

Alonso will enter Sunday’s race chasing his second straight points finish after ending McLaren’s drought in Baku two weeks ago when he finished ninth.

The Austrian Grand Prix is live on CNBC and the NBC Sports app from 7:30am ET on Sunday.

Reviewing Danica Patrick’s highs and lows at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

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So much of Danica Patrick’s fame can be traced to Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

It’s where she became a household name 13 years ago when she became the first woman to lead the Indianapolis 500 and emerged as a transcendent athlete.

It’s where everything started. This Sunday, it’s where everything will end, too.

In her last warmup before starting the final race of her career, Patrick had a bumpy final practice Friday on Carb Day. She was eighth fastest, but her Dallara-Chevrolet was in the garage most of the session because of an electrical problem in the engine. After returning during the final 10 minutes of the session, Patrick’s No. 13 seemed to be OK.

“At the end of the day, these are things you’re actually glad for, because if this had happened Sunday, we would have been done,” she said. “I’m glad to get the issues out of the way early on. Overall, today felt good. We made some changes when I went out the second time, and I’m feeling good about starting seventh on Sunday.”
Though she has had her share of success – along with a fourth in her debut, there was a third in 2009 and six top 10s in seven starts — Patrick has learned well how to handle frustration at the 2.5-mile track, too.

Fuel mileage might have kept her from winning her debut, a pit collision ruined 2008, and an unstable setup made 2010 a wild ride.

For a review of her up-and-down history at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and her legacy in racing, watch the video essay above that ran during Friday’s NASCAR America Motorsports Special on NBCSN.