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Formula 1 Spanish GP

Alonso says P2 on F1 Spanish GP grid possible even with floor damage

Fernando Alonso says he could have qualified second for Formula 1's Spanish Grand Prix despite damaging his Aston Martin when he went off right at the start of Q1.

Mechanics in the pit lane with Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR23

Alonso ran wide through the gravel on his out-lap at the start of the session, damaging the floor sufficiently to make the car tricky to drive for the remainder of qualifying.

Thereafter, he noted that it handled "weirdly" but the Spaniard remains convinced that he was still on target for the front row before he made a mistake and ran wide on his final lap.

The error meant Alonso had to settle for ninth on the grid for his home race, as Max Verstappen secured pole for Red Bull.

"P2, probably even with the floor as it was," the Aston Martin driver said when asked what he believed would have been possible.

"Because in the Q3 lap I was coming for 12.7s until Turn 10. Then again I ran wide into the damp part in Turn 10 on the outside, so when I saw that 12.7 is P2 and P3 I was surprised.

"That's why I'm optimistic for tomorrow, because the car seems to have a lot of pace."

Alonso conceded that his Q1 off "probably did compromise everything today". 

Explaining the incident, the 2006 and 2013 Spanish GP winner said: "I went on the damp part of the circuit, I guess, on the last corner, because I lost the car.

"And then it was very costly because that gravel completely destroys the floor. And yeah, it hurts even more because it was the lap.

"I was not even pushing, it wasn't a push lap, it was the out-lap. So I'm disappointed with my performance today, hopefully I can do better on Sunday."

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin F1 Team

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin F1 Team

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Asked by Autosport if he could feel a loss of downforce, he said: "The car was moving weirdly in few corners, but you never know if it's just the wind or just the track conditions.

"It was a strange qualifying to see [Charles] Leclerc out of Q1, and [Sergio] Perez, [George] Russell out of Q2. We were struggling as well.

"It was tricky for everyone, but in my case it was just my mistake in the lap of Q1, so that compromises everything.

"But the race is tomorrow, the car still feels competitive even with some damage on the floor. So if we put everything together for tomorrow I'm still optimistic that we can score many points."

He added: "I would say top five, top six has to be possible from P9. I realised that Checo is starting at the back, so it's like a starting P10, not P9 because he will pass by very fast.

"Then from that point, we need to recover four or five places. It's going to be tricky, but we will do our best."

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